GARY Bowyer has urged his Blackburn Rovers side to stick together as they bid to battle their way out of their worst run of the season.
Rovers, for the first time in Bowyer’s 50-game tenure as manager, suffered a third successive league loss on Tuesday night when they went down with a whimper at home to Bournemouth.
The disappointing defeat left Rovers nine points off the play-offs with 12 matches of the campaign left to play and was greeted by a chorus of boos from the Ewood Park faithful.
With Sunday’s painful East Lancashire derby reverse to high-flying Burnley still fresh in the memory, Bowyer understood the fans’ frustrations.
But ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Huddersfield Town, he believes now is not the time to panic and stressed that he and the players will work harder to put things right.
“What we’ve got to do is regroup, stay calm, make sure we recover well and get ready to go again at Huddersfield,” said Bowyer.
“For some of the lads in the team it’s their first experience of this sort of run.
“We’ve got to remind them that they are good players, they need to work harder and look at each other and see what more we can give.
“Does the booing help? No it certainly doesn’t help. But do I understand it? Yes of course I understand it.
“Everyone connected with this football club has seen what has gone on here in the last couple of years and the supporters want us to be successful and we’re no different – we’re the same, we want to be as successful as we possibly can be.
“We’re still sat in 10th position, we’ve still got 12 games left to play so we’ve got to make sure we all stick together and all keep working together.”
Just three matches ago Rovers raised expectations of a top-six finish with a 1-0 victory at Reading.
But since then their campaign has gone badly off the rails.
They have lost to Bolton, Burnley and Bournemouth, a run of results which Bowyer admits is ‘not good enough’ and means Rovers are just one point better off than they were at this stage last season.
But Bowyer is adamant the trio of losses should not overshadow the progress he insists the club has made this season.
“I think we have made progress and just because we have lost three games on the trot that progress should not be disregarded,” said Bowyer, who has had to rebuild his squad on a smaller budget after the excesses of the 2012-13 campaign led to Rovers making a £36.5m loss.
“We’ve got to realise what has gone on, keep working very hard and keep focused – and I can ensure the Blackburn fans that is what the players and the staff will do.”
Although Rovers had 14 shots on goal on Tuesday – four on target – none troubled underworked Bournemouth goalkeeper Lee Camp.
In contrast Camp’s opposite number Paul Robinson had to make three saves before Lewis Grabban beat him at his near post from 25 yards to settle the contest.
Bowyer said: “It was a very frustrating evening. We started well, which was positive for us as we were disappointed with what happened at the weekend – and you always look at how they react, and I thought they reacted well – but we didn’t really create an awful lot and test their goalkeeper enough.
“That said Paul Robinson had one save first half and I think that was it.
“It was a flat, strange evening around the whole ground and pitch. It was a disappointing evening for us.”