Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the win over Barnsley at Ewood Park.


Christian Walton was brought in as the man to replace the outgoing David Raya this summer. On the evidence of his 17 games so far, he looks an upgrade in the areas where Raya struggled, kicking and under the high ball (the opening goal at Preston apart).

But mistakes are creeping in when it comes to his handling, criticism you could rarely label at Raya throughout his two years as No.1, having been unable to claim what looked a routine Jacob Brown cross in the lead up to the second Barnsley equaliser.

The Spaniard returns to Ewood on Wednesday with Brentford and will certainly get a good reception.

Rovers will need to stick by their current No.1 however, with the competition from Jayson Leutwiler likely meaning his place isn’t under any real threat.

Raya is catching the eye for Brentford, keeping another clean sheet at the weekend. There would be no better time for Walton to put in a performance to defy his critics than Wednesday night.

Arriving on a season-long loan his impact would need to be immediate. Fans would likely have been more patient when it came to a 24-year-old homegrown 'keeper, with Walton unlikely to be afforded such a luxury.


It is now 10 games without a clean sheet for Rovers, with 18 goals conceded in that time. Barnsley became the 11th team, in all competitions, to score at least twice against them, a feat managed by all three newly promoted teams at Ewood.

With Darragh Lenihan back, and partnering Tosin Adarabioyo for the first time, Rovers, although not challenged much aerially, did have a good presence in the heart of their defence.

But it was the spaces in front of the back four that a Barnsley midfield diamond were able to exploit that was of concern.

Lewis Travis is yet to find a regular partner alongside him, and he was forced to get through plenty of work alongside Lewis Holtby who couldn’t get a grip on the ball that would have negated Barnsley’s threat.

Too often the visitors were able to drive in to open spaces and get at the Rovers back four, which is how the first goal came about.

For all the central midfield options Rovers have, they look no nearer to finding a preferred combination.

The manager didn't feel it was a day for Stewart Downing, but the 35-year-old has looked as good as anyone as a partner for Travis. Can Bradley Johnson get back to his early season form? Is Corry Evans due a run in the side? 


With Tony Mowbray preferring to focus on the points on the board, rather than the overall performance, then from that point of view it was job done.

Rovers chalked up a second consecutive home win, but in the process have put their fans through the mill to do so.

With two more home games in their next three matches, before trips to Swansea and Bristol City, they will hope to build some Ewood momentum to push them up the league.

A failure to win at home curtailed their second half of the season, and they’ll hope it can be a catalyst this time around.

They will need to play better than they did here, but they found a way to notch up a sixth win of the campaign, which does at least move them within one result of the top half. 


There is a case for Danny Graham starting every game at Ewood, though Mowbray would argue that Rovers would struggle to get up the pitch with him and Dack at the top end of the pitch together.

Adam Armstrong got the nod in attack to try and exploit the space in behind the high Barnsley backline. That didn't happen, not least because of Armstrong's tendancy to drift in to offside positions.

When Graham came on, Rovers had a focal point, with the striker having the intelligence to help bring others in to play.

Added to that experience of Stewart Downing, their contribution off the bench was telling.

Downing scored one and his free kick helped create the third, and set Graham away with an excellent pass from which the striker unselfishly tried to square for Armstrong, rather than go alone. 

While Barnsley were naive in their approach at times, Rovers' extra experience helped see them over the line.