Saturday's game was lacklustre from start to finish, with only a ten minute spell of commendable football to reward the supporters. Blackburn looked mediocre in all aspects of their play, leading manager Gary Bowyer to make a double substitution in the 52nd minute seeing Chris Brown and Chris Taylor replaced by Rudy Gestede and Tommy Spurr.
The double change offered little bar the ten minute spell of good attacking play, and the result has left fans questioning where such a poor performance has come from. One of the big questions was why did Chris Brown start over Rudy Gestede, when Chris Brown looks like a League 1 striker at best? Equally, why did so much of our play revolve around going backwards and playing "keep ball" rather than just going for it and getting forward?
I can only speculate as to why our League performances have been so poor recently, and considering the extensive list of injuries, and the knowledge that we're neither going down nor going up, my inkling is that Bowyer has told the team to take their foot off the gas slightly in the League, in order to try and stay fit for the FA Cup quarter final replay against Liverpool, where the players can put their all into the game.
To some extent I can understand why this plan may have been adopted, but I can't help feeling it leaves Gary Bowyer in a bit of a predicament. The worse we play in the League, the more pressure there is to succeed in the FA Cup against Liverpool. Thus, if we don't succeed in the FA Cup, I believe that questions will be asked of Bowyer as to why our League performances leading up to the, now biggest game of our season, had been so unimaginative, and "safe" - it will feel like we've thrown our season away for nothing. Yes, either way, it will be a great evening which will hopefully see a nearly full Ewood Park rocking (for the first time in years), and yes, we've done brilliantly to get so far, but I still feel that as a supporter who travels around 250 miles each home game to support - I deserve a stand out performance which will give us a chance of going to Wembley.
I've said before that I am a huge fan of Gary Bowyer, and I think he is a nice man with good intentions. Equally, I don't think he is a tactically astute manager. I think he's completely run out of ideas. It feels like we're going backwards this season, not forwards. I wish with all my heart that he could continue to stabilise and improve the club, as he has done for the last couple of seasons, but honestly, I don't believe that he can take us much further. Of course, this creates new problems, because even if the Venky's were to agree with me, who would we hire?
Hopefully the international break will provide us with the perfect opportunity to regroup, re-cooperate, and recover from recent losses and injuries, and we'll be able to come back with a bit more of a bang.