AS the last strains of ‘Gary Bowyer’s blue and white army’ echoed around Ewood Park on Tuesday night there was the realisation that, keep up this form, and Blackburn Rovers could yet march all the way into the play-offs.
One month ago it seemed highly improbable, a home loss to Bournemouth leading the majority of Rovers supporters to write off their side’s chances of making the top six.
But since then Rovers have not tasted defeat, with the rousing midweek win over QPR stretching their unbeaten run to seven matches.
That is their longest unbeaten run of the season, the club’s longest since February 2009, and, ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday, the current longest unbeaten run in the Championship.
Not that Rovers boss Bowyer is getting carried away. Just as he refused to panic after the dispiriting defeat to Bournemouth, he will not be going overboard now his increasingly confident side have moved within four points of sixth-placed Reading with five games left.
“We remember where we were this time last year so we won’t be getting carried away or anything like that,” said Bowyer, who was handed the Rovers manager’s job on a permanent basis in May after he led the club to survival last season.
“We’ve just got to concentrate game by game and we’ve got a difficult game coming up against Sheffield Wednesday.
“You can’t predict other teams’ results – that is the craziness of the Championship.
“We’ve got five more games left and I’m sure it will spin out different permutations.
“We’ve just got to keep going, keep plugging away and keep playing our football.”
Since Rovers went down with a whimper to Bournemouth they have scored an impressive 17 goals in seven matches, more than any club in the Championship over the same period of time.
Two of the key reasons for their sudden splurge – Rovers netted just six goals in their previous seven matches and eight goals in the seven games before that – has been the continued fine form of January deadline day signing of Craig Conway and the return to fitness of Tom Cairney.
Winger Conway created his sixth goal in 12 matches when he set-up Tommy Spurr to score in Tuesday’s 2-0 home victory over QPR, but only after midfielder Cairney, who continues to be operated out wide by Bowyer, also made it six assists for the season by playing in Rudy Gestede for the opener.
“We knew Craig was a good player otherwise we wouldn’t have brought him in,” said Bowyer of his bargain £100,000 buy from Cardiff City.
“But we didn’t realise what a top pro he was.
“The level of his performances for us have been outstanding.
“But he’s not alone in the creativity that we’ve got now.
“You look at Tom Cairney.
“The role he is playing allows him to drift infield and you saw that with the first goal.
“He finds himself in positions that people can’t pick him up in – and that’s why we play him there.”
The win over QPR moved Rovers up to 59 points, one more than they achieved for the whole of last season when they finished just four points above the relegation places.
Bowyer will hope to continue the momentum tomorrow.