THE impending battle for the Blackburn Rovers left-back spot between Markus Olsson and the returning Tommy Spurr is indicative of the strength in depth the club now has at its disposal.

That was the verdict of Rovers boss Gary Bowyer after he confirmed that Spurr is closing in on a first-team comeback.


The fans’ favourite has spent the last six weeks on the sidelines after suffering a fresh groin injury on the eve of the Championship opener against Cardiff City.

But Spurr, who finished third behind Tom Cairney and Jordan Rhodes in last season’s player of the year poll, has a chance of resuming full training before the end of the week.

If he does then there is every opportunity he will come into contention for the Roses clash with Huddersfield Town on Saturday week.

But Spurr, who played 43 consecutive league games last season before a different groin problem brought his campaign to a frustrating end, faces a fight to regain his place given the form of his replacement.

Bowyer has been delighted with the performances Olsson has produced since he put pen to paper on a new one-year contract in the summer.

But he is just as happy to see Spurr, who could feature for Rovers U21s in their Ewood Park encounter against Reading on Monday (7pm), close to full fitness.

“Tommy is making really good progress,” said Bowyer, whose side entertain Watford on Saturday.

“There is a chance he could join in training by the end of the week and that will be a big boost for him.

“He became a fans’ favourite with us last season and rightly so.

“But Markus has done ever so well since coming in, his level of performances have been terrific.

“It just goes to show that we now have fierce competition in every position.

“That’s something we’ve worked hard to do since we came in and, now that we’ve got it, it can only benefit the club.”

Bowyer’s squad will be stretched for Saturday’s match against the high-flying Hornets if reigning player of the year Cairney and fellow midfielder Lee Williamson fail to recover from the injuries they sustained in last weekend’s 1-0 win at Fulham.

Neither player has trained since they came off injured in the Craven Cottage clash.

But Bowyer, whose players had a day off yesterday, said: “I’m hopeful that both of them will train (today) and, if not, certainly Friday, so that’s good news.”

Goalkeeper Paul Robinson has not trained since sustaining a knock to his knee that ruled him out of the trip to Fulham.

Midfielders Jason Lowe and David Dunn remain sidelined as does striker Chris Brown.

But Bowyer confirmed that Brown, who has yet to kick a ball for Rovers following his summer switch from Doncaster, is making ‘good progress’ after he underwent a knee operation at the start of the month.