BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer insists his side have not had any contact from Championship rivals Middlesbrough for star striker Jordan Rhodes.

Speculation continues to link Rhodes with a move to the north east but Bowyer, who is preparing his squad for tonight’s pre-season friendly with Rochdale at Spotland, said that no contact had come from Aitor Karanka’s side.


“I think it is pure speculation,” said the Rovers boss.

“We’ve not had anything in terms of contact.”

Rhodes is currently sidelined with an ankle injury he sustained in Rovers’ last match - a 2-0 friendly win over Accrington Stanley 10 days ago - and Bowyer does not expect him to be fit for tonight’s clash.

“He’s still on his way back,” said Bowyer. “He won’t feature in the game and we’re monitoring his situation.”

Rhodes has long been linked with a move away from Ewood Park after netting 21 goals for Rovers last season to take his tally to 79 since joining the club in a £8m move from Huddersfield in 2012.

But Bowyer is refusing to let the speculation faze him as he prepares his side for the new Championship season.

“You can’t do anything about it,” said Bowyer of the transfer speculation surrounding Rhodes.

“When there are good players available clubs will be interested and we are no different.

“We have got some good players here.

“We just have to try and manage it with the situation we are in obviously with Financial Fair Play.”

Rhodes’ striker partner Rudy Gestede is also unlikely to be risked in tonight’s friendly as he continues his return to full fitness from a knee injury which prevented him from joining his team-mates on a warm weather training camp in Portugal last week.

But Bowyer is hopeful that the Benin international will be available for one of the weekend fixtures against Tranmere Rovers on Friday night and Oldham Athletic on Saturday afternoon.

“Rudy joined back in with the first team training but the game is probably a touch too soon,” Bowyer said of Gestede.

Rovers trialists Giles Coke and Dean Furman are both expected to feature in tonight’s friendly as Bowyer continues to run the rule over the pair while the Ewood chief is also keen to tie up a deal for South Korea international Kim Bo-kyung.

The former Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic man is available on a free transfer after leaving the DW Stadium at the end of last season.

The one snag Rovers could hit is securing a work permit for the 25-year-old who is understood to be keen on a move to Ewood Park.