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Blackburn Rovers boss Tykes a look forward
GARY Bowyer will always have special memories of his last meeting with Barnsley, but he prefers to look forward rather than back as he seeks Blackburn Rovers’ first win of the season tomorrow.
Bowyer’s first game as a first team manager came at Oakwell last December, when he was asked to take caretaker charge following the sacking of boss Henning Berg.
He proved an immediate success, guiding Rovers to a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Josh King, Ruben Rochina and Jordan Rhodes.
It was from that point that he catapulted himself into contention as a serious contender for the Rovers job full time, following it up with victories over Nottingham Forest and Bristol City.
He would not get the job on that occasion, with Michael Appleton appointed, but was always going to be in Rovers’ thoughts when the vacancy arose again later in the season.
“There’s no point now looking back on it but if we can get the same result tomorrow we will be delighted,” Bowyer said.
“I was asked to do a job by the club at the time and that’s what I did.
“It wasn’t a case of ‘this is a taste of management’, I was employed by the club and they just said look after it.
“That’s in the past now. We’ve just got to concentrate on tomorrow and looking to impose ourselves on the game.”
Rovers go into back to back home games against Barnsley and Bolton having taken only one point from their first three league matches.
That has led to some concerns among supporters and even reports that Venky’s may be worried about results.
But Bowyer has shrugged off talk of being under pressure at this early stage.
“Does it surprise me? No,” he said.
“Does it frustrate me? Not really, because you’ve just got to focus on what we can control, which is preparing the players properly for games.
“There’s always going to be something connected with this club for a long time, no matter who’s in charge.
“If we start picking up points and winning games, that question will be put away for a couple of weeks.
“We’re three games in. If we were 23 games down the line that’s different but we’re three games in and I thought the level of performance at Derby was well documented.
“We were 90 seconds from getting a point against Forest, who have gone on to prove they’re going to be up there.
“On Friday against Doncaster we had 61 per cent possession away from home, which is phenomenal for an away team.
“We didn’t really hurt the opposition enough with that possession and that’s something we’ve worked on this week.
“It’s probably both penalty boxes, if we’re not scoring them we know we’ve got to keep them out.
“That said, it’s just a case of a bounce of the ball going the right way for us.
“There have been one or two decisions against us which have been hard to take.
“But it evens itself out during the season.”
Bowyer continues his attempts to add to his squad, with a forward and a wide man his two main priorities.
Dutch left winger Marvin Zeegelaar – a 23-year-old former Ajax, Espanyol and Elazigspor player – has arrived for a trial.
“He’s been in, he’s a good lad, he’s trained with us and we’ll see where that goes,” Bowyer said.
“We’re looking at definitely bringing a couple in. We’re working very hard and hopefully we’ll have somebody involved in the squad against Barnsley. If not we’ll continue to keep chasing it until the window closes.
“We’re looking at more attacking players, but you’ve always got to have an eye on potential exits as well.
“No-one has tabled a bid for any of our players and we’re hoping that remains the same.”
Rovers have been linked with Leicester wide man Ben Marshall, but Bowyer said: “We’re going about our business quietly and we just have to make sure that when we have to announce something we come and do that properly.
“Otherwise I could have a team full of people we’ve been linked with.”
Adam Henley featured for the under 21s on Monday after a lengthy spell out with a hamstring injury.
The 19-year-old now faces a battle to displace first choice right back Todd Kane, but Bowyer is pleased to have another option.
Kane has perhaps not started the new season in the form in which he ended the previous campaign.
“Adam has done ever so well,” said Bowyer. “Last year he suffered a double injury blow and he has worked very hard.
“Hopefully he’s coming back into contention because he provides good competition for Todd Kane and he’s an excellent player himself.
“Todd knows he has to step his game up to keep Adam out.”
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