GARY Bowyer has confirmed that he is still looking to strengthen his Blackburn Rovers squad – with a move for Reading midfielder Hope Akpan on the cards.

Although a deal had not been agreed Akpan, 23, watched Rovers go down to a controversial 2-1 defeat to Wolves in Saturday’s Championship opener.


The former Everton youngster still has 11 months left on his three-and-a-half-year contract with fellow Championship club Reading.

That means the only way that Rovers, who are under a Financial Fair Play embargo, will be able to sign Akpan is if the Royals agree to cancel his contract or send him out on loan.

But with the Nigeria international present at Ewood Park on Saturday, there is a strong possibility he could become Bowyer’s fifth signing of the summer.

The Rovers boss has so far brought in two other midfielders, Danny Guthrie and Sacha Petshi, and two attackers, Fode Koita and Nathan Delfouneso.

And, speaking after the loss to Wolves, Bowyer said: “We’re working tirelessly to bring some additions in.

“We were on the phone until 10.30pm last night (Friday) – date night went out of the window in my household, that’s for sure!

“And what time is it now? 5.35pm? Well I’m sure we’ll be back on the phone by 6pm seeing if those deals can be got over the line.

“Everyone is working ever so hard to try and bring in reinforcements.”

Bowyer is also looking to recruit another attacker with pace.

But he was impressed by the impact new boy Koita made after his introduction from the bench against Wolves.

The Frenchman flashed one cross across the box, saw a long-range shot turned on to the post, and flicked on a Craig Conway corner that fellow substitute Corry Evans just failed to convert.

And Bowyer, who is looking in the Premier League loan market, said: “He’s unpredictable and when you’ve got someone who is unpredictable, it’s exciting.

“I think everyone saw when he went on the pitch how many chances he made for himself and that he isn’t afraid to unleash that weapon of a left foot – and he’s equally strong with his right foot at times as well.

“He’s only been in the building a couple of weeks, we have to give him time to settle and he’s got to adapt quickly to the English game, but I think you saw the strength and the quality that he can produce.

“He’s got to build on that now. We’re not going to get carried away and we’re going to have to be patient to make sure he understands our game.

“He’s got some talent, he’s got some ability, there is lots to work on and lots for him to improve on, but if he can take it on board, there’s no reason why he can’t progress, like all our players.”