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Bowyer hails 'magnificent' Blackburn Rovers
BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer hailed his side as ‘magnificent’ after they completed a quickfire Championship double over Leeds United to revive their play-off bid.
Rovers moved up to 10th and within two points of the top six as a result of their second victory over Roses rivals Leeds in the space of four-and-a-half weeks.
The 2-1 triumph at Elland Road, secured by first-half goals by top scorer Jordan Rhodes and on-loan Cardiff City striker Rudy Gestede, also ensured Rovers bounced back from their battling 3-2 home loss to Birmingham City on Sunday.
“I think we continued where we left off against Birmingham,” said Bowyer, whose team were 1-0 winners over Leeds at Ewood Park on November 30.
“Bar from the silly mistakes in that game I thought we were fantastic, especially in the second half.
“So we came here – which is not a nice place to come, a tough place where the Leeds fans are notorious for the noise they make – and our young team and players stood up magnificently.
“We were outstanding in the first half and should have been out of sight.
“We scored two goals, had one cleared off the line and had a certain penalty turned down – we controlled the game.”
Bowyer, whose 4-3-3 formation paid off handsomely, was loathe to single out individual players for praise.
But he was particularly impressed by the performance of Ben Marshall.
The winger played at right-back in place of Adam Henley who, after playing five matches in 21 days after nine months out injured, was rested.
It is a position Marshall has played before but Bowyer was taken aback by just how well his summer signing, who is in the best form of his short Rovers’ career, adapted to the role.
“I didn’t think Ben would be as outstanding as he was at right-back,” said Bowyer.
“We knew he could do it but we didn’t think he could be as good as that. He was outstanding.”
The match marked Gestede’s and Tom Cairney’s final appearances for Rovers before their loan deals from Cardiff and Hull City respectively run out today.
But Bowyer remains hopeful he will complete permanent transfers for both players before Saturday’s visit of Manchester City to Ewood for a mouth-watering FA Cup third-round tie.
Bowyer also needs to trim the club’s wage bill in this month’s transfer window.
And his efforts to do that continued yesterday when striker Jordan Slew signed for Scottish Premier League outfit Ross County on loan until the end of the season.
Defender Anthony O’Connor, meanwhile, will remain on loan at Torquay United until the end of the season.
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