When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Scotland snub can inspire Blackburn Rovers ace Jordan Rhodes
JORDAN Rhodes can recover from his disappointment at missing out on a Scotland call-up by firing Rovers to victory at Reading tomorrow, believes boss Gary Bowyer.
Sixteen-goal striker Rhodes was a surprising omission from Gordon Strachan’s squad for the friendly with Poland next month but Bowyer feels that could benefit Rovers.
The match falls the Wednesday before the derby with Burnley and as well as keeping his star striker for the build-up to the East Lancashire clash, he reckons any frustration Rhodes is feeling can help the 24-year-old end his eight game goal drought at the Madjeski Stadium tomorrow.
“If he is disappointed that he is not in the squad then hopefully we can be the benefactors of that by him going out and taking it out on Reading,” said the Rovers boss.
Bowyer would not be drawn on his thoughts on Strachan’s squad – which included Rovers skipper Grant Hanley but had no room for Rhodes, Tom Cairney or Craig Conway – all of who Bowyer believes can be regular Scotland internationals.
The Rovers chief added: “It is not for me to comment on what Mr Strachan wants to do with his squad.
“Mr Strachan doesn’t pick my team and I don’t pick his team. We know that Jordan Rhodes is a fantastic goalscorer for Blackburn Rovers with a tremendous work rate and that is what we will be looking for at Reading.”
And Bowyer insists that Rhodes’ recent barren streak in front of goal – he has not scored since the New Year’s Day win at Leeds – is nothing to be concerned about given his burgeoning partnership with Rudy Gestede.
The former Cardiff man has scored four goals in that period and Bowyer sees that as proof that it is not all about goals for his striking pair.
The Rovers boss added: “Jordan has not scored but he has set two of Rudy’s goals up which have ended up winning us matches.
“They are working well as a partnership and they have got the ability to play up front as a two and to lead the line on their own.
“You look at Liverpool at the moment with Suarez and Sturridge and you look at Manchester City and their frontline. Jordan and Rudy at the moment are proving a handful for the opposition and long may that continue.”
And Gestede believes that he is starting to see the benefits of an extended run in the team alongside Rhodes, insisting the pair are beginning to gel as a strike partnership.
“We have good link-up play and we have done well in the past few games. It could be a good partnership.”
But the French forward insisted it was important that other players helped to take the goalscoring burden of the strikers – Rhodes and Gestede have scored 20 of Rovers’ 37 league goals between them.
And the 25-year-old, who was part of Cardiff’s promotion-winning squad last season, used the Bluebirds as an example of how sharing the goals around can benefit the team.
“Last season when we went up with Cardiff everybody was able to score goals and that is very important for the team,” said Gestede who scored five times in the Championship last season.
“We have other players who can do that as well and it is not only about Jordan and me.”