OWEN Coyle inherited a deeply unbalanced squad and his caution over not starting Stephen Hendrie and Craig Conway at the DW Stadium was understandable if he felt they were in any danger of breaking down. He cannot afford to be without either player long term.

But at the moment there are square pegs in round holes.

Adam Henley is just not a left-back and the question remains over whether captain Jason Lowe would be better served by being moved from right-back to his natural position in the centre of the park because, with Corry Evans sidelined and Hope Akpan and Danny Guthrie out of favour, Rovers are inexperienced in there.

Darragh Lenihan has had two of his toughest games since breaking into the first team and while Jack Byrne, who was one of only two players, the other being Gordon Greer, to emerge with any sort of credit on Saturday, is clearly talented, he is work in progress, too.

Anthony Stokes looks most effective when partnered up front with Danny Graham while Ben Marshall needs to settle in one position.


JUDGING by the after-match comments made by Alex Neil and Gary Caldwell, Rovers have encountered opponents at the top of their game so far this season. But as good as Norwich City and Wigan were, they were given a huge helping hand.

All three goals on Saturday, like the four conceded against the Canaries, were, in the words of Coyle, avoidable.

Henley should have at least challenged Will Grigg for the opener while Jason Steele, as he admitted to the local media afterwards in a brutally honest interview, should have kept out Nick Powell’s free kick.

But most galling of all, given it came at the one point in the match when Rovers were on top, was the goal that killed the contest. Shane Duffy may have bundled the ball over the line but the build-up to the own goal was lamentable too.

Coyle talked afterwards about the need for his side to get a foothold in games. They will not be able to do that, however, if they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

Lancashire Telegraph:


LAST weekend it was the heaviest opening day loss since 1990 and the lowest home crowd for a first game of the campaign since 1991.

And another unwanted record was created on Saturday. The 3-0 defeat, coming hot on the heels of the 4-1 hammering by Norwich, means Rovers have conceded seven goals in the first two matches of a league season for the first time since 1965-66.

Back then Jack Marshall’s team went down 5-2 at Fulham before winning the return encounter 3-2 one week later.

That Ewood Park success was followed by an eight-game winless run comprising six successive defeats and two draws.

By the end of the campaign Rovers were relegated from Division One. Here’s hoping history does not repeat itself.