Given the high hopes the club had, and the overall feeling of one step forward two steps back, it has been a disappointing season. We should have done better. There have been some wonderful highlights to the season, but there have also been some low points.
Both Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestede have both scored at least 20 goals - with Rhodes doing it now for his third consecutive season. That’s 41 goals between the two, yet our end of season goal difference was plus seven.
Our defence has been an absolute shambles this season and it is my belief that it stems from the club never replacing Scott Dann properly. Michael Keane was a great player for us, and had Louis Van Gaal not taken over Manchester United, maybe we would have had a better chance at signing him. In the club’s defence, our back four has been a shambles largely due to the extensive injury list we’ve seen.
Tommy Spurr out, Shane Duffy out, Grant Hanley out, Matt Kilgallon out, Doneil Henry out - the list goes on. These injuries did mean that Marcus Olsson and Adam Henley have stepped up to the mark and had a huge impact on the squad - with Olsson winning player of the season. However, it does beg the question, how are we picking up all these injuries?
It hasn’t just been injuries in the defence either, we’ve seen plenty across midfield and up front, a number of which seem to have come from picking up knocks in training - which again forces me to ask what we are doing in training that is leaving players injured?
In midfield we have missed players like Jason Lowe and David Dunn - the latter, a player who has now bid farewell to the club after struggling with injuries and often being sidelined when he has been fit. Lowe is an industrious midfielder who has a lot of love and passion for Rovers, and while Corry Evans and Lee Williamson / Tom Cairney have done a decent job, I do think we have missed Lowe.
Up front Josh King has struggled with injuries all season, and despite his outstanding performance and hatrick against Stoke City, his other performances have lacked end product. Gestede has also struggled with a few niggling knocks which has meant that at times it was clear to see that Rhodes was tired. Chris Brown had a go, but unfortunately he doesn’t seem cut out for Championship football.
The biggest problem we’ve faced all season is the fact that we are inconsistent - an issue that hasn’t been helped by the fact that we have had such a huge injury list. Of course some of our inconsistency is down to the fact that Gary Bowyer has been unable to play the same team week in and week out - but this again forces me to ask why we pick so many injuries up.
The FA Cup run was a fantastic highlight to this season - our only real saving grace, but that again pointed to our inconsistencies. Why were we performing so poorly in the Championship, yet excelling in the FA Cup against three Premier League teams? One answer is that we were under pressure in the league, whereas the FA Cup allowed us to play as the underdogs, allowing for more carefree football.
For me though, the hardest part of this season has been saying goodbye to my Blackburn Rovers hero - David Dunn. I have always been a huge fan of his, and would have had him playing every minute he possibly could over the last two seasons when he was fit enough. Unfortunately, we haven’t utilised his ability very well, which has meant that when he has been able to play, his fitness has further decreased because it was not on a frequent basis. However, I wish him the best of luck for the future, and hopefully we’ll see him again in the usual pre season friendly against Accrington Stanley. More importantly I thank him for being such a loyal servant to the club.
Let me know your thoughts on the season in the comment section below.