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2 key passes per game: has Barry Douglas done enough during Blackburn loan to secure summer opportunity as Leeds contract expires?



With 11 players out of contract, and five more only on loan until the end of the current season, this summer transfer window could see something of a squad overhaul at Blackburn Rovers.

That is something we already saw the start of in the January transfer window, as Blackburn completed the signing of left-back Harry Pickering from Crewe Alexandra, before loaning him back to the League One club until the end of the season.

But even with the arrival of Pickering, left-back is still a position Rovers will likely have to address this summer, with Amari’i Bell’s contract at Ewood Park, and Barry Douglas’ loan from Leeds both expiring at the end of the season.

The situation around Douglas is a particularly interesting one, given his own contract with his parent club is set to come to an end this summer, meaning he is effectively playing for his own future during his time at Ewood Park.

Given Leeds themselves are reportedly looking elsewhere for reinforcement at left-back this summer, it seems unlikely that the Scot’s future will be at Elland Road, but has he done enough to secure an opportunity with Blackburn, or perhaps elsewhere, beyond the end of the season?

Here, we put the spotlight on Douglas’ performances for Blackburn so far this season, in order to find out.

Having featured in 25 of the 34 league games he has been eligible to appear in for Rovers so far this season, Douglas does seem to have worked his way above Bell in the pecking order at Ewood Park, and the stats do seem to suggest that is justified.

One of the reasons Rovers moved to bring Douglas in during the summer was the attacking outlet he would help provide Tony Mowbray’s side down their left flank, and that is something that certainly seems to have worked.

With an average of two key passes per game, more than any other player in the Rovers squad this season, Douglas certainly seems to have added an extra spark of creativity to the side.

Indeed, the Scot’s average of 1.6 crosses per game make him the only player to record more than one per match in that particular department, again highlighting his importance in terms of keeping opposition defences occupied in a side that has placed a good deal of emphasis on attack this season.

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Add to that a reliable pass success rate of 74.2%, and it does seem as though Douglas has, after what was an admittedly slow start, settled in well with his new side at Ewood Park.

It is also worth pointing out that Douglas can contribute defensively as well, with only Everton loanee Jarrad Branthwaite (2.4) averaging more than Douglas’ 2.3 tackles per game.

With Douglas also averaging more interceptions per game (1.2) than fouls conceded (0.8), which could be crucial given his position in an area of the pitch where crosses can be sent into the penalty area, it does seem as though on the whole, the Scot has been doing a rather reliable job for Blackburn, at both ends of the pitch.

As a result, it would seem to make sense for Rovers to look to bring Douglas back as a free agent this summer, particularly when you add in the fact that his experience could be more than useful when it comes to helping the much younger Pickering adapt to playing Championship football for the first time in his career.

It remains to be seen however, whether Douglas would be willing to stay at the club amid that much greater competition for game time, and if it proves not to be the case, then he ought to have no shortage of offers, judging by the impressive nature of his recent showings.

UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 2 key passes per game: has Barry Douglas done enough during Blackburn loan to secure summer opportunity as Leeds contract expires?

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