CAST your mind back six weeks.

Rovers, having finally broken through the glass ceiling that had long hovered over their heads, were in the play-offs at last and four points off top spot.

But since then the progress they have made is in danger of stagnating.

A return of four points from a possible 18 means Rovers are now six points behind the top six and 13 from the summit.


It also means they are two points worse off than they were at this stage last year when the gap to the side in sixth stood at two points.

Of course there is still time to get back on track and last season proved Rovers have it in them to finish strongly.

But it was not supposed to be this way.

This was supposed to be the season when Gary Bowyer’s boys stopped flirting with the play-offs and got serious.

After a dramatic draw at Middlesbrough on November 28 extended their unbeaten run to nine matches it appeared that they had.

But that memorable finale at the Riverside now seems like an eternity ago. What remains fresh in the mind though is last weekend’s loss to Wolves.

Managers carry the can for performances as bad as the one Rovers produced on Sunday.

It should come as no surprise to Bowyer, then, that he has received the most criticism after one of the most sub-standard home displays of his reign.

There is no question the Rovers boss and his coaching staff have to start getting more out of a team who, damningly, simply did not want it as much as Wolves.

But his players should also take their share of the blame.

We recently ran a poll on our website offering supporters the chance to vote for Rovers’ player of the season so far.

When asked to nominate five contenders I struggled after naming Markus Olsson, Ben Marshall and Rudy Gestede.

And, out of those three, only Olsson has been truly consistent throughout the season.

Too many in the blue-and-white-halved shirt have blown hot and cold and no player is coming under more scrutiny than Grant Hanley.

The skipper was at fault for Wolves’ winner and his reckless lunge late on in the match was an indication he could be feeling the strain.

Perhaps it is time for Bowyer to take his young captain out of the firing line.

But Hanley, who was left exposed on Sunday by the poor positioning and passing of those in front of him, is far from alone in struggling for form.

It all makes for an important team selection at Wigan on Saturday.

It is one Bowyer has to get right and it is a game his side really have to win.