Rovers reporter Rich Sharpe picks out four talking points from the win over Derby. 


He has been the story since the weekend defeat to Stoke City, but thankfully for Rovers, and Bradley Dack himself, the talk will have been about on-field matters as fans left the ground after returning to the team in style.

There looked a hunger about the 25-year-old attacker from the off, and he seemed desperate to mark his return with a goal, something that looked like evading him until he never gave up on a chance in added time before turning home from close range.

That was his 16th of the season, but only third in the last three months, a drought by his high standards.

Dack clearly makes a huge difference to this side with his ability on the ball. There were moments in the second half where his close control and skills were too much for the Derby defence. A fully fit, focused, and on-song Dack, there aren’t many better in his position in the division.

His talent deserves better than languishing in the bottom half of the Championship, but he is approaching an interesting, and critical, period of his career.

He has shown he can handle the step-up in level to the Championship, his undoubted talent can take him higher. No-one would begrudge a move to the Premier League, should an opportunity arise, but this is the time for him to make it happen.

Rovers won’t want to sell their key man, and it will take big money for them to even consider it. What Dack himself must do is ensure that his focus remains on football to ensure he is making headlines for the right reasons.


Derby’s three Premier League loan players, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Harry Wilson have all enhanced their reputations this season. But it was Rovers’ sole top flight loanee Harrison Reed who put in the most eye-catching display.

He hassled and harried, and while he may not always be in the middle of the pitch where his manager would prefer him, his energy and enthusiasm is infectious. In the same way Robbie Savage did during his days, the crowd responded to Reed’s display, his best for some time.

It seems more and more likely that Reed’s long-term future won’t be at Ewood Park, particularly given his lack of game-time recently. This was his first central midfield start since the Wigan win, also a game in which both he and Lewis Travis were also recalled.

Reed’s performance did need a disciplined performance from Travis alongside him. Travis held the centre of the park throughout the night, and is maturing with every performance. The way he halted a late Derby counter attack, at 1-0, with a tug of the shirt, showed he is learning those dark arts of central midfield play.


Tony Mowbray is trying to move Rovers towards being more of a ball retention-based side, something we have seen in evidence in recent weeks.

But Rovers showed here that they are at their best when pressing high and playing with an intensity which teams have struggled to live with.

There was still more play out from the back than we have seen at times, picking and choosing the right times to play off Danny Graham.

They amassed 24 shots, and two or even three extra goals wouldn’t have flattered them given the chances they created, but passed up.

This was undoubtedly one of the performances of the season, possibly only matched by the 3-0 win over Hull in January, and while the 50 point mark has been a while in reaching, should guarantee Championship football next season, were there any doubts already.

Mowbray feels Rovers will need to be better on the ball to progress up the league, but they shouldn’t forget about what has brought them success in the last two years, particularly at Ewood.

Change doesn’t happen overnight, and Rovers may well be better served mastering what they are good at, rather than moving too far away from that in search of a new style, until new personnel arrives who are better suited to that.


Charlie Mulgrew has been an integral part of this Rovers side even before Mowbray took charge.

But again ruled out by injury, without him Rovers chalked up an 11th clean sheet of the season. Incredibly, of those 11, Mulgrew hasn't played in seven of them including the last six.

Derrick Williams got the nod alongside Darragh Lenihan and they performed well, restricting Derby to just one shot on target.

They could well be handed an extended run, and Williams' inclusion over Jack Rodwell may suggest the latter is not be seen as a long-term option in the heart of the defence, with his contract up this summer. That is despite him being part of the team duing Rovers' best run of the season in January.

The next challenge is away from home, at Nottingham Forest, and whether Rovers can withstand pressure if and when the going gets tough.