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Rovers boss backing Jordan Rhodes to go on scoring run
PROLIFIC striker Jordan Rhodes has been backed to end the longest scoring drought of his Blackburn Rovers career.
The 24-year-old has notched 44 goals in 81 appearances for Rovers but going into today’s derby clash at Bolton Wanderers (3pm) he has failed to find the net in any of his last eight appearances.
But his manager and team-mates have no doubt that Rhodes will soon discover his scoring touch.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer sat down with his top-scorer this week and assured him that once he gets his first goal since the New Year’s Day win at Leeds United a ‘glut’ will follow.
“I spoke with him and the positive, the massive positive, is that there is a glut of goals coming from Jordan Rhodes,” said Bowyer, whose side have managed to move within four points of the play-offs without the goals of their most-feared forward.
“It depends on how you interpret it or look at it (Rhodes’ dry spell). I look at it as a massive positive for us that we can look forward to and welcome him scoring goals again soon.”
Rhodes has 16 Championship goals for the season – only Leeds United’s Ross McCormack (22) and Burnley duo Danny Ings (19) and Sam Vokes (17) have more – and he went desperately close to making it 17 and ending his barren run in last Saturday’s 1-0 win at Reading.
The Scotland international produced a stunning turn and shot which Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy did brilliantly to push past the post.
Rovers left-back Tommy Spurr reckons Rhodes deserved that effort to nestle in the back of the net for the tireless performance he put in.
Spurr said: “You know what Jordan’s like, he’ll work hard even when he’s not scoring and he did everything on Saturday apart from score.
“He held it up for us and made it hard for their centre-halves and when he’s not scoring that’s what he’s got to do – and there’s never any doubt he will do it.”
After playing most of his Rovers career up front on his own Rhodes now has an orthodox strike-partner in Rudy Gestede.
Gestede completed his £200,000 move from Cardiff City at the start of the January transfer window after an initial loan.
But before the Benin international arrived at Ewood Park Bowyer was considering a move for Middlesbrough’s Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Bowyer and Rovers will come face-to-face with Jutkiewicz today after the Boro targetman joined Bolton on loan.
Bowyer said: “It’s going to be an interesting game because they’ve got the big man in Jutkiewicz and you look at how well Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede are doing.
“It’s going to be an interesting game and we’re certainly going to have to be right on our mettle.”
Bowyer has let 19 players leave either on loan or permanently since the start of January with Portuguese defender Nuno Henrique, who had not made a senior start for the club, becoming the latest departure yesterday.
He has signed for Polish club Jagiellonia Bialystok.
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