Ryan Richardson discusses the talking points as Rovers kick off the New Year with victory at Birmingham…
New Year, Better Rovers
After what was a terrible end to 2020 with Rovers only picking up eight points out of a possible 24 in December, they started the New Year in the best way possible putting in a good away performance to beat Birmingham.
We are all disappointed or deflated with how our season has gone so far – there is no hiding away from that – but today’s performance was much more pleasing than the recent games and hopefully, it can be the start of a push to rectify what has gone wrong.
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With key performers returning from injury, hopefully 2021 will be a better and exciting year for us Rovers fans.
Dack’s Back in Attack
I think we all had a big smile on our face when Dack fired his shot into the right-hand corner to seal the victory for Rovers today – his first goal since November 2019 after recovering from his cruciate knee ligament which kept him out for just over 12 months.
There is no doubt that when fit, Dack is our best player, and the difference he will make to our team once he is fully fit will be astronomical.
This goal will be a big confidence boost for the 27-year-old, and I know we are all excited to see him return to full fitness and consistently causing havoc towards Championship defences.
The Midfield Commanders
The return of Lewis Travis was a great New Year surprise, and his performance today made me realise just how much we have missed him.
The tough-tackling midfielder played 68 minutes in his return from the injury sustained in the Carabao Cup tie at Newcastle back in September, and he put in an astute performance with his tackling and physical presence, as well as covering so much ground, showing how important this man is to our team.
His midfield counterpart Jacob Davenport received his first start for Rovers today and put in a stellar performance alongside Travis.
He was full of running all game, breaking up play and putting in some tough tackles, and it reminded me of what we saw from Harrison Reed back in the 2018-19 season.
At 22 years old, Davenport still has a lot of potential and a consistent run of games could really do him the world of good, and today’s performance might give Mowbray a bit of a selection headache going into the next game.
Could we have a potential new midfield duo on our hands?
The All-Important Clean Sheet
We are all aware of our poor defensive displays this season, so to pick up our first clean sheet since November to start 2021 was fantastic to see.
When you’re playing a left back at right back, and a defensive midfielder at centre half, you know you are down to the bare bones, but these players put in a solid and brave performance today to grind out the clean sheet.
Credit goes out to Thomas Kaminski as well, who has been a consistent star for our team since joining. He’s conceded more goals than he would have liked – of course – but more so because of defensive mistakes than goalkeeper errors.
Hopefully, this clean sheet can give the defence a much-needed boost and revive their confidence so we can see more of the same in the coming weeks.
Thanks for reading.