Watching Blackburn Rovers on a Tuesday night has not been pretty but their gritty performance in South Wales did offer reassurance they will stay in the Championship.

The nil-nil draw at Cardiff City was a drab occasion, with the couple of hundred hardy souls that made the trip from East Lancashire hardly treated for their commitment in terms of a spectacle.

Rovers and Cardiff played the match many feared before kick-off. It was two out-of-form teams, low on confidence. There was no shortage of endeavour but quality was seriously lacking.

For a team that was built around possession only three weeks ago, it’s quite puzzling how quickly that side of Rovers’ game has disappeared. It has been replaced with more defensive steel and points are the priority, which Eustace has made no apology about.

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The head coach did himself a lot of favours at St Andrew’s and again at Cardiff by calling out Rovers’ lack of quality on the ball. On both occasions, he has looked for the positives, as you would, but he is not trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.

Long-term, Eustace knows there will have to be improvements but he’s been in the job for 10 days. The group has had no time on the training pitch and they’re managing key players who have only just returned from serious injuries.

Ultimately, Eustace was brought in with a brief to keep Rovers in the division. Whether they’d have done that anyway is conjecture, though I think they probably would. The team couldn’t keep defending in that manner and so something had to change.

Eustace himself knows the balance has probably not been right but the objective, in his own words, is to hit 50 points as quickly as possible.

Defensive performances like last night are not easy on the eye but they will do the job. More sweeping conclusions are for next season and beyond.

There’s an argument that under the previous regime, they’d have either won 4-2 or lost 1-0, as they did at the same ground last season. Eustace is trying to remove the previous Jekyll and Hyde nature of their performance.

Rovers’ biggest weakness right now appears to be in the centre of midfield. Since Adam Wharton left, Rovers haven’t found the right alchemy, though injuries to Joe Rankin-Costello and John Fleck haven’t helped his cause.

John Buckley’s return to fitness has led to calls for him to get a run in the side, which we would echo. His performance as a substitute in Cardiff was impressive; he added cohesion and composure on the ball.

The 24-year-old should start against Norwich City and deserves a consistent run in the team. He is undoubtedly talented and needs an opportunity to get back on track after a heavily disrupted 18 months.

Others haven’t grasped their opportunity in the middle of the park and Buckley is on a long contract at Ewood Park, tied down until 2027.

Eustace has spoken highly of him since arriving and it feels like the right time for him to get his Rovers career going again.

Rovers will face a different animal at the weekend against Norwich City, now one of the form sides in the Championship and chasing the top-six.

The performance will need to be more akin to Stoke and Preston rather than Birmingham or Cardiff to get a positive result.