Ahead of this evenings clash with Rotherham United. @gtrowe31 gives his opinion on Mowbray’s selection.
Questions have got to be asked of Mowbray’s team selections.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, we were appalling on Saturday. The whole starting XI, with maybe the exception of Dack, were off the pace from minute one.
It took until the 70th minute for TM to make a change, 3 of them at once in fact. But as soon as Chapman, Antonsson and Whittingham came on, they gave Rovers an impetus going forward that had been missing all game, with Chapman grabbing the assist for Bradley Dack’s 85th minute equaliser.
A poor team performance was compounded by poor offensive performances by Bennett and Samuel in particular, whilst the whole back four was leaky throughout. This is nothing new.
The signs have been showing for weeks and whilst we may have gone on a four match winning streak, defensive errors and lazy attacking performances have been rife.
Elliott Bennett is a fan favourite. He is always the first to clap the travelling support, the first to throw his shirt into the crowd and the first to thank the fans on social media.
But without a shadow of a doubt; he is the most out of form player in our squad. Yet he is still one of the first names on the team sheet. If only he was as active on the pitch as he is on Twitter. Has to be dropped.
Dominic Samuel started the season off brightly with 4 goals and an assist. But as soon as Marcus Antonsson arrived, his performances dipped dramatically. Is it time for him to be rested?
Our defence have been poor all round of late. But without a shadow of a doubt, the weakest of the four have been Ward and Williams. Last year’s player of the year has looked shaky all season, whilst Ward has been a liability ever since he arrived at Ewood. Every time the 32 year old centre half picks up the ball, he just hoofs it 50 yards and gives up possession immediately.
What’s bizarre is that Mowbray signed a left back and a centre back on deadline day. Sam Hart, the 20 year old signed from Liverpool, hasn’t made a single appearance as of yet, it must be time for him to be thrust in. Paul Downing, on a season long loan from MK Dons, impressed in place of Mulgrew in his only Rovers appearance, away at Rochdale. Why these two haven’t featured strongly in the squad is beyond conceivable. For me, they would both start tonight.
Harry has to start
Ever since the 20 year old arrived at Ewood Park in August, Harry Chapman has been the most direct, attack minded player in a Rovers shirt, yet still hasn’t started a game. Every time the Middlesbrough loanee receives the ball, he is looking to beat his man and get a cross or shot away; reminiscent of a young Damien Duff. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the brightest spark in blue and white and it is becoming a bit of a joke that he hasn’t made a starting XI yet.
When does Nuttall get his chance?
Joe Nuttall has been a revelation for the Under 23’s since he arrived in July, with 7 goals and 5 assists in PL2 this season, as well as a goal in his only first team appearance, at home to Stoke U21’s in the Checkatrade Trophy. Form like this can’t go unnoticed by Mowbray; Nuttall travelled to Shrewsbury on Saturday, but only as the 19th man.
When will he get an opportunity in the league? Graham’s legs seem to have gone, whilst Samuel has followed up a dismal showing vs Wimbledon with another lacklustre performance at Shrewsbury. Antonsson looked a new man as he was brought into the game on Saturday, he was picking the ball up, running at defenders and looked dangerous. It would be a travesty if the Leeds loanee didn’t start tonight. And I would be shocked if he is partnered with anyone other than Samuel, with Joe more likely to remain in the Under 23’s for the time being. But Nuttall has definitely earned himself a chance.
Obviously, as a fan, I don’t get to spend all week with the players in training, so I don’t get to see how they perform daily. But what myself and the 1599 other travelling Rovers fans saw on Saturday was worrying.
Changes need to be made and fast.
Don’t miss all our build up to tonight’s game.
We will be discussing the Shrewsbury & Rotherham game on our 1875 Podcast. If you want to ask any questions, head over to our Twitter at @rovers_chat. Send us a tweet with #1875podcast