Talking Points: What role will Hayden Carter play this year?


Howard Abbott discusses three talking points from Rovers’ loss to West Brom…

Plenty of positives 

Despite the result leaving me feeling rather humbled, there was still plenty of positives on display. 

No one can deny that West Brom today were the better side, and deserved all three points but on the whole the performance was a positive one for Rovers, giving it a real go in a game were most would cower, showing that if they all put in 100% every game we’ll give ourselves every chance to do well this season. 

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Thomas Kaminski also had an absolute blinder, emphasising his importance to the football club and keeping us in a game they should have been out sight in. 

Same applies for Ayala who again had another commanding performance, winning Man of the Match in the end, finally showing his value to the side which we didn’t see much last season. Long may it continue. 

Clarkson impression 

After joining the club at the start of the week, Leighton Clarkson made his first senior appearance replacing Dolan in the starting eleven, in a role which I personally never expected to see him in but early signs seemed promising.  

His range of passing was most impressive, seemingly picking out his targets with ease while also possessing composure on the ball. This was key with the goal, putting Johnstone in a tough situation with a teasing outside-of-the-foot pass. His pressing was also up-to standard, allowing him to seamlessly fit into the system like he’s been here for years. 

Although it is early days, the signs seem to point towards the loanee being a key figure for Rovers in games to come. 

Do we really need to loan Carter? 

If you’d have told me this time last week that Carter would have been our right back going into the Forest and West Brom games I wouldn’t have been very confident, especially against talented forwards like Grant. However, what an impressive few days he’s had. 

I personally thought, despite having a rough start, he had another impressive game. Always making himself an option going forward while also being steady in defensive areas. 

Which makes me wonder, do we really need to loan him out?  

There’s no getting around the fact Carter’s loan last season was huge for his development, looking much more like a capable centre half compared to the defender we saw 12 months ago. 

In my opinion, I can see the argument for both, gametime over the course of the season could be limited compared to a loan to League One, which makes me think he could go by the end of the month if someone comes into the club, but if he’s going to perform like that, is there any need?

Especially with the high risk of injury to pretty much all our defenders at this point. To me, it seems like a safer thing to do considering our financial constraints at the moment. 

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