Robert Folker looks ahead of today’s match at Birmingham, as Rovers look to kick the year off with a win.
The result against Birmingham will not ultimately dictate the position Rovers will finish this season but it does feel like it could be the start of a breaking point for some on Tony Mowbray and his tenure at the club.
A tenure that has seen him pull Rovers straight back up from League One to Championship on the first time of asking. A feat that Sunderland, Ipswich, Portsmouth have not achieved.
Surely time must be given for the achievement alone for getting us back to the place where fans can start thinking of away days of places like Old Trafford and Anfield, a pick of many. Or Bradley Dack coming up against Jurgen Klopp’s Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Bobby Firmino. That is the dream that Tony Mowbray’s has delivered by the work he has done since he stepped into the club.
However, this is the season that he has decided to elevate those dreams to supporters by his constant belief that this is a play-off chasing team. With that does come the need of results, something Rovers have struggled to provide in December.
Adam Armstrong is one goal behind top goal-scorer Ivan Toney and a similar problem that Gary Bowyer faced has started to come to light again. Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede both finished in the top four goal-scorers in the championship in 2014/15 netting 41 goals between them but Rovers still were a shy 11 points of the play-off places.
This means a new year really needs to be a new start for Mowbray and his men otherwise pressure might start to pile on. A pressure that may never burst as Tony Mowbray should at least be able to keep Rovers in touch with play-off premier league chasing pack but at some point a surge into the top six is needed.
The return of Bradley Dack may come in key timing with Mowbray’s most astute signing since he arrived at EwoodPark. If Dack can produce half of the Jack Grealish inspired play off push for Aston Villa two years ago then Rovers should see themselves in the top six come the end of the season.
Lewis Travis will breathe a life of much needed fresh-air into a midfield which has only tired week on week. A coming uptwo week break from Championship action with a FA cup game penciled in a chance for Dack, Travis and other members will give the squad a freshness on return.
A win really is needed keep Rovers revive the play-off charge but it will have to be the start of a rich form of vein. A loss wouldn’t define Rovers to another season in the Championship but it could start a derailing that may be hard to revive.
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