Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out five talking points after the defeat to Preston.


Rovers kept hold of star man Bradley Dack in January, but the assumption for most fanats th he may not be come the end of August. Tony Mowbray said the attacker is too good a player to be languishing in the middle region of the Championship, which is where he now finds himself.

But is there now more of a case to suggest the 25-year-old attacker could be at Ewood Park for the first half of next season at least?

Rovers will command a big fee were they to be tempted in to selling Dack, so to reinvest in up to four new signings.

The difficulty for the player, who will undoubtedly have Premier League aspirations, will be which club is willing to pay the fee to prise him away, and are the clubs that can do that, going to splash out on someone who is in his first season in the Championship?

For the first time since his first few weeks at the club, Dack’s performances have come under scrutiny from supporters. He has more credit in the bank than most, and it must be remembered he has 14 goals in all competitions this season. His workrate is another thing that can't come in to question. As shown when Rovers went down to 10 men against Middlesbrough last month, he's more than willing to graft. 

The difficulty is, that teams have worked out that stopping Dack, and dealing with Mulgrew’s set pieces, can go a long way to stifling Rovers. The few occasions he found space against Preston, moves broke down too easily. 

Dack could well look at his team-mates to provide more of an attacking threat in a bid to free up space for him. But the possibility of him being at the club next season, is one that could well be growing.   


Joe Nuttall replaced Harrison Reed as Rovers' first change, which saw the striker, with three goals in his last two U23s games, used more in a wider area.

In Ben Brereton, they have a player on the back of a confidence boosting couple of appearances for the U23s, more suited to that role, and if being 1-0 down in a local derby moving in to the final half an hour when the team are facing a seventh game without a win isn’t seen as the right time to bring him on, then when is?

Brereton is very much viewed as a long-term project by Mowbray who has his way of managing the 19-year-old. But after a run of back-to-back starts against Reading and Middlesbrough, he’s been an unused substitute in the last three matches now, the previous two possibly with the Under-23s outings in the back of the manager’s mind.

Damien Johnson’s side play again on Monday, but with a first team game against Wigan the next day, Brereton is highly unlikely to feature at Leyland.  If the U23s games were to give him game-time, and boost his confidence, then when will we see that transferred to the first team stage?


Mowbray opted for safety in numbers at the back three, as with Jack Rodwell and Darragh Lenihan out injured, Rovers went with a back three, with Derrick Williams’ return.

Neither Williams or Ryan Nyambe are natural central defenders, while both wing backs, Harrison Reed and Elliott Bennett, although having played in those positions, wouldn’t put it down as their natural spots.

Adam Armstrong also thrives more when used coming in from the flank, but starting more centrally, he struggled to have an impact on the game.

Mowbray had to try something different, so changes were always expected. And once he had decided to go with a back three and wing backs, this was always the likely result, with Amari’i Bell having struggled with illness of late. With Mulgrew picking up an injury, a back four of Bennett, Nyambe, Williams and Bell is expected on Tuesday.

It feels in defence that Rovers are somewhat trying to muddle through to the end of the season. 


Rovers fired off 18 shots, as well as seeing several more blocked, but managed just four on target. This is a trend that has been seen during their six defeats in their last seven matches.

Rotherham (16 – 5, two goals), Middlesbrough (5 – 1, no goal), Reading (15 – 5, one goal), Bristol City (11 – 2, no goal), Brentford (10 – 4, two goals). At Birmingham they scored twice, with three shots on target from six attempts.

In truth, for all of Rovers’ 18 attempts, few of those were from clear-cut chances. The best save Declan Rudd had to make all game was to palm away a deflection from his own player after an Amari’i Bell cross.

They are stats that must be improved, particularly at home, with Rovers failing to score in each of their last three home matches, and managing just seven shots on target across the three.

They will hope for better against Wigan.


Not since 1978/79 have Preston done the double over Rovers, and it’s now five matches without a win against the Lilywhites for Rovers.

After a 4-1 victory at Deepdale, it was just one goal that separated things here, as Preston sent their 7,500 fans home happy.

That win in November moved Preston to 16th and within five points of Rovers who were 10th. Fast forward to March and Rovers have slipped to 17th, with Preston seven points and eight places better off.