Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the 2-0 defeat at Wigan Athletic.


However Christian Walton performed in Rovers’ remaining nine matches after the re-start they were always going to be in the market for a new No.1. Tony Mowbray this week dispelled the growing consensus that Jon McLaughlin of Sunderland was among his goalkeeping targets as the Scotland international made the switch to Rangers.

But Rovers will undoubtedly be drawing up lists of goalkeepers who can be their resident No.1 next season. Walton had enjoyed a strong 2020, with key saves to preserve a point at Middlesbrough and in the win at Charlton in February.

However, since the re-start the goalkeeper won’t reflect well on two of three goals he has conceded. Having been unable to keep out Jamie Paterson’s header, despite getting two strong hands to it, in the Bristol City win, he dropped a left wing cross at the feet of Lee Evans who put Wigan ahead, despite Walton’s appeals for a foul.

The 24-year-old wasn’t Rovers’ first choice to replace David Raya, having missed out on two overseas targets, and having a loanee between the sticks was never ideal.

There have been peaks and troughs to Walton’s form this season, but his decision to play short to Tosin Adarabioyo, rather than using his booming left foot with Danny Graham on the pitch, was a decision that proved fatal at the DW Stadium, and to the frustration of his manager.

And while goalkeeper will be high on Mowbray’s priority list this summer, left back won’t be far behind, with Rovers having struggled for consistency in that position since promotion from League One.



Bradley Dack did his bit – 10 goals before Christmas and would have been well on his way to matching his tally of 18 from the last two seasons before injury struck.

Adam Armstrong had finished the last two seasons on nine, but has burst through the double figures mark this season to reach 13, and has been Rovers’ go-to man of late, despite starting the last two matches on the bench.

It’s now time for one of Rovers’ other attackers to come to the party.

Joe Rothwell made his 17th start at the weekend, with 12 further appearances off the bench, but his goal involvements this season total just one assist, a measly return for such a talented player.

Sam Gallagher’s 27 starts, and eight substitute appearances, have brought four goals, while Brereton has played 14 times in all competitions without scoring.

In the absence of Dack, and with Armstrong on the bench, the incentive was there for someone to take up the mantle, but Rovers felt a little flat in the final third, and struggled to carve out any clear-cut chances.

Gallagher got one cross he would have been licking his lips at, but it wasn’t until the introductions of Armstrong and Dominic Samuel that Rovers really turned things up. 



Rovers have looked more threatening in the final quarter in their two games so far, largely down to the impact of their substitutes, so is it time for the team that's been finishing matches to start them?

Not until Armstrong arrived did you ever really get up out of your chair and sense that a moment of magic could be produced at any time.

Equally, Samuel went close to turning home one Armstrong cross, and made the ‘keeper work with his header from a Downing delivery and could get the nod to start at Oakwell.

Rovers will need to start sharing the load in terms of attacking threat if they’re to close the now four-point gap to the play-off spots.



There have been peaks and troughs to the news of injuries for Rovers this season. There were the two injuries in one game at QPR in October, which ended Greg Cunningham’s time at the club, and then in the space of six weeks around the turn of the year they lost Bradley Dack, Corry Evans and Lewis Holtby to likely season-ending injuries.

The extension of the season allowed both Evans and Holtby to be back in the fold, but no sooner had that news arrived that Amari’i Bell and Derrick Williams added their names to the treatment table.

Joe Rankin-Costello was forced off in the Bristol City win, as the issues at left back continued, and a hamstring injury will put his involvement in Rovers’ remaining games in doubt – as will the broken toe suffered by Corry Evans.

Rovers will hope Lewis Travis will be able to shake off the knock that forced him off at Wigan – a midfield without either Evans or Travis would be a leave a big hole to fill.