AFTER the disappointment had begun to subside my overriding emotion on leaving the iPro Stadium was one of jealously.

Derby County, it is clear, are a club going places. Blackburn Rovers, in contrast, appear to be going nowhere, this season at least.


The difference between the sides on Tuesday night was a £24m England international striker.

Derby pushed the boat out to bring Darren Bent in on loan and they will make more moves in the market before Monday.

They are not the only club strengthening. Middlesbrough have signed Adam Forshaw. Bournemouth are putting big money bids in for Demarai Gray.

Rovers, with a transfer embargo hanging like a noose around their neck, are in danger of being left behind.

But that is not to say you cannot still make progress with one hand tied behind your back. Take a look at Ipswich Town for proof of that.

They finished one place and two points behind Rovers last season but the table today shows you that Mick McCarthy’s men are 14 points clear of Gary Bowyer’s boys.

Rewind two months ago and the points difference between the sides was three.

That underlines just how badly Rovers’ league campaign has gone off the rails.

No wins in five, one win in nine, two wins in 12 – however you dress it up, it is not good enough.

Fans are unhappy and their discontent will only grow further unless Rovers boss Bowyer finds a way of stopping the rot.

He is right to say there is still time and he is right to say you only have to look at what his team did at the back end of last season.

But that 12-game unbeaten run was built on a consistent way of playing and, notably, a consistent team selection.

Since the turn of the year he has made multiple changes to his line-up in every game – six, six, four, six and five to be precise.

On Tuesday it was clear Rovers were set-up to frustrate and try and nick a 1-0 win. Ultimately, however, and it was through no lack of effort, they were just too soft to do that.

They have been for too long. So in that case, when we are very close to a now-or-never scenario, surely the best form of defence is to attack?

It nearly worked to thrilling effect last season when 31 goals in six wins and six draws in those 12 games took Rovers within touching distance of the play-offs.

But to stand any chance of repeating that run Jordan Rhodes and, injury and interest elsewhere permitting, Rudy Gestede need to be restored to the side.

They have not been playing well but there is no point starting two of the Championship’s most prolific forwards on the bench, like they were on what was a sobering evening in the East Midlands.