Rotherham v Blackburn: contrasting moods

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Paul Lambert – www.skysports.com

News has broken today that Paul Lambert will leave Blackburn Rovers at the end of the season. It is clear that he has grown increasingly frustrated at the lack of communication from the Venkys, regarding his plans for next season, particularly in the transfer market.

Whoever does take over will have little money to work with and yet a number of areas in the squad to address, one of them being left-back. At times last season, Blackburn benefited from the energy of Martin Olsson, who would push forward and create space for Ben Marshall to cut inside and cause problems. The lack of forward drive at left-back is symptomatic of the wider problems in the team, and to an extent, the club as a whole.

Supporter James Wilkinson wrote an article that conveyed the increasing levels of apathy felt by fans, some of whom had been going to Ewood Park for decades. Much of that apathy stems from the lack of investment and transparency at boardroom level, meaning the Venkys have much to answer for. However, a contributing factor is the uninspiring football on display, started to an extent by Gary Bowyer and continued by Lambert.

It is indicative of the mediocre season Rovers have had that their most consistent player has been a centre-back, the aerially dominant Grant Hanley. In an attacking sense, hardworking Danny Graham has chipped in with a respectable six goals but only joined on loan in January.

It is fair to suggest that no Blackburn player has truly excited fans since the start of the season and this points to midfield monotony. With Jordi Gomez out of form, the rest of Blackburn’s midfielders tend to give the team raw physicality and defensive qualities, but little creativity. Rotherham’s most creative player in recent weeks has been Lee Frecklington. The midfielder has provided energy and a long-range goalscoring threat, but he will miss this match due to a calf injury. However, the Millers can still depend on the sturdy back-line that has kept seven clean sheets in 14 games.

Key to improvement under Neil Warnock has been the performances of Kirk Broadfoot, arguably Rotherham’s best outfield player this term. Though Warnock once joked that he ‘can’t understand what he says’, Broadfoot has shown vital leadership skills. The tall centre-back has played in the Champions League with Rangers, his top level experience and aerial prowess boosting the team.

Another contender for Millers Player of the Season is goalkeeper Lee Camp. He made his debut in a draw at Charlton in September and pulled off a man-of-the-match display. The former Derby stopper has sustained that performance level, becoming key figure behind the team’s recent defensive record. Camp will feel hopeful of producing yet another clean sheet as his teammates celebrate survival, while Blackburn fans are left fearing for the future of their club.