BRYAN Douglas has urged Blackburn Rovers to bring in a playmaker to offer more support to Jordan Rhodes next season – as speculation over the striker’s future reignited once more.
Rhodes has been Rovers’ top scorer for the past two seasons and Norwich City have become the latest club to be linked with a potential move for the 24-year-old.
Rovers see Rhodes as an integral part of their plans for the 2014/15 campaign and would not welcome any approach for their star man.
Boss Gary Bowyer brought in Rudy Gestede to partner Rhodes up front in the second half of the 2013/14 season but club legend Douglas believes the striker still needs more help from central midfield if Rovers are to become the attacking force required for promotion.
“I’d like to see more support for him,” Douglas said.
“Jordan did well for Huddersfield and he’s done remarkably well for us.
“He is a predator but he’s not a Shearer, he can’t hold the ball up in the middle of the field by himself.
“He got a bit of support later on in the season (with Gestede), but having done that I think they need a playmaker.
“I like Tom Cairney, he can beat one or two people, but we need somebody who is going to cause some problems in the opposition’s third. We don’t have anyone at the moment to get near the penalty area.
“David Dunn sets a great example, I know David and although he’s from Great Harwood he’s Blackburn through and through.
“But he’s not getting any younger and I said to him that when he plays he’s flying about doing other people’s jobs at times.”
Norwich could be in the market for a big money striker this summer after reports that Gary Hooper wants to leave the club following their relegation from the Premier League. Ricky van Wolfswinkel could also be sold.
That would give the Canaries cash to spend on a replacement, with speculation that they could test the water with an approach for Rhodes.
But it would still take a huge bid to make Rovers soften even slightly on their long-held stance that Rhodes is not for sale.
Rovers finished eighth in the Championship table during 2013/14 and Douglas believes they can take inspiration from their fierce East Lancashire rivals Burnley, who gained promotion.
But he says they must also tighten up defensively to push for the Premier League.
“We’ve got to do what Burnley have done, we’ve got to get up there and stay up there and treat every game as a cup tie,” Douglas said.
“Make no mistake they’re a good side and thoroughly deserved to go up.
“I was disappointed that Rovers gave away too many goals from corners and free kicks, bad defensive mistakes.
“We did improve, I didn’t see the Wigan match because I was on holiday and I believe it was a great match, but we still conceded three goals at home.
“I want them to address sloppy goals being given away.
“We were a bit better towards the end of the season but I still think we need more.”