When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
The Paul Wheelock column: Rhodes’ burden must be eased
IT was a sobering night in more ways than one.
Maybe not as sobering as the last time Rovers made their way to the King Power Stadium, but sobering all the same.
The strides Rovers have made under Gary Bowyer since that truly dispiriting 3-0 defeat in February have been significant.
But it was abundantly clear on Tuesday that the young team Bowyer has assembled is still very much a work in progress and lacking personnel in key areas.
Bowyer has been unfortunate to lose David Dunn and Ruben Rochina to injury, two players who could genuinely play the number 10 role behind Jordan Rhodes.
And were that duo fit and available, it would allow Tom Cairney to drop back into a midfield which gave the ball away far too cheaply both against Burnley on Saturday and in Tuesday’s trip to Leicester.
Bowyer has also been robbed of the services of DJ Campbell, through injury, while the club were left with no choice but to drop Leon Best following his ill-advised comments on Instagram.
So what does Bowyer need?
A target man, first and foremost, is a must – or at least someone who can ease the physical burden on Rhodes.
It is to Rhodes’ eternal credit that he has managed to find the net in the last two matches – albeit with a fluke and a penalty – despite barely getting a kick.
But he desperately needs support, especially away from home.
A deeper-lying attacker, with movement and speed of foot, would also give Rovers an extra attacking dimension.
Whether these players are out there, available and would like to come is another matter.
But if they are, it will require owners Venky’s to dig deep into their pockets.
It emerged before kick-off on Tuesday that Venky’s London Limited – the holding company behind Rovers – has posted a £27m loss for the last financial year.
It is an extraordinary figure but one which will not come as too much of a surprise given the eye-watering amount of money Venky’s threw at last season’s ultimately doomed promotion push.
A more prudent approach appears to have been taken this season, with Bowyer doing his best to shed his squad of big-name, under-performing high earners and replace them with players with something to prove.
It is a sensible approach after a season of mismanagement.
Ironically, however, now could be the time to free up further funds as on the evidence of Tuesday night Rovers will need strengthening if they are to make a play for the play-offs.
Promotion to the Premier League – and the riches that it would bring – would render that £27m loss largely insignificant.
But whether Rovers fans would want Venky’s to gamble again is another question.
Comments are closed on this article.