BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer is going the right way about getting the best out of Jordan Rhodes by stacking his forward line with targetmen.
That is the verdict of Rovers legend Derek Fazackerley as his former club get ready to announce the permanent arrival of Luke Varney.
Varney will today seal his free transfer switch from Leeds United before setting about battling Rudy Gestede and fellow new boy Chris Brown for a place up front alongside the prolific Rhodes.
All three count strength and work-rate among their key attributes and Fazackerley has no doubts that will spell even more goals for the 24-year-old Scotland international.
Rhodes has netted 53 goals in 96 games for Rovers – who are not on the verge of signing Cardiff City midfielder Don Cowie – since making a club record £8m move from Huddersfield Town two years ago.
“I think if you’ve got somebody alongside Jordan who has got good energy and has got more of a physical presence it can help Jordan, there’s absolutely no doubt about that,” said Fazackerley, who was Rhodes’ first-team coach at Huddersfield.
“When we were at Huddersfield we brought a lad out of non-league called Lee Novak and he was excellent for Jordan because he would do a lot of the fetching and carrying and running the channels.
“Jordan isn’t particularly good at that as he’s not really got the pace for it, so having Lee alongside him enabled him to concentrate on his work in and around the penalty box.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Jordan’s lazy, as he’s far from it, but his strength is when the ball comes in to him in and around the penalty box.”
Fazackerley knows Rhodes inside out having first encountered him as a boy at Barnsley.
He is not surprised that he has been such a roaring success at Ewood Park and is predicting Rhodes will improve his all-round game in a bid to match the exploits of the great Alan Shearer.
“I first came into contact with Jordan when I had a short period coaching at Barnsley, he was in the academy there as an 11 or 12-year-old,” said Fazackerley, Rovers’ record appearance holder.
“From a very young age it was clear that if you gave him an opportunity in front of goal he would take it as he has always been a very composed finisher – you very rarely see him lashing shots.”
Rovers, meanwhile, have again been linked with the out-of-contract Cowie.
But reports suggesting Rovers have won the race to sign the 31-year-old, who has an offer to stay at Cardiff, are wide of the mark.