THE significant selection problems Gary Bowyer faced before the international break may have thankfully eased.

But as long as the Rovers boss remains restricted by Financial Fair Play (FFP) they will always be one injury crisis away from returning.


Bowyer was down to just 13 fit and available senior outfield players for the home loss to Brighton after Corry Evans became the eighth member of his stretched squad to be sidelined.

And it is a squad, remember, that under the terms of the club’s embargo for failing FFP, can contain no more than 24 ‘established’ players.

‘Established’ players, as a reminder, are those aged 21 or above on June 30 who have made at least five first-team starts for their current club.

Rovers, at present , have the maximum 24, a figure that includes Doneil Henry despite the fact that he has been forced to go back to West Ham.

But how many ‘established’ players will be at the club come the end of this campaign?

As things stand, certainly 15, in the shape of Adam Henley, Tommy Spurr, Grant Hanley, Jason Lowe, Chris Brown, Tom Cairney, Jordan Rhodes, Ben Marshall, Simon Eastwood, Markus Olsson, Shane Duffy, Corry Evans, Jason Steele, Craig Conway and Rudy Gestede.

That number will rise to 18 when Jake Kean, Josh Morris and Leon Best return from their respective loan spells.

And that number will rise again if, as hoped, Rovers agree deals with some of the six ‘established’ players who are out of contract.

Of those six, Paul Robinson will certainly not be handed fresh terms, and there remains a question mark over the future of David Dunn, the fans’ favourite who is desperate for more football.

That leaves Matt Kilgallon, Josh King, Lee Williamson and Chris Taylor.

Should Rovers agree new deals with that quartet that would leave Bowyer with very little wriggle room to manoeuvre in the loan and free transfer markets in which he has to operate.

Unless, of course, the club is able to move on Best, Kean, Morris or other ‘established’ players deemed surplus to requirements.

The other option would be to start selling players Bowyer does not particularly want to lose.

And, with promotion seemingly gone for another season, this appears to be Rovers’ best way of lifting the embargo before the maximum annual loss permitted under FFP rises from £6m for the current campaign to £13m for next season.

Venky’s, though, have so far refused to go down that road, rejecting multi-million pound bids for Rhodes and Gestede, in order to give the club the best chance of winning its place back in the Premier League.

Should Rovers’ owners take the same stance again? Only they can answer that.

But their answer promises to shape Rovers’ summer.