Championship side Blackburn Rovers will be preparing for next season now with their chances of winning a spot in the top six now mathematically impossible, a real disappointment considering they have spent a considerable amount of time in the play-offs this season.
Despite this disappointment, this is a campaign they can definitely build on with the Lancashire side coping well during 2021/22 despite losing Adam Armstrong and Harvey Elliott last summer, two players who were crucial to their cause last term.
Big changes are likely to be made in the summer though with several first-team players out of contract including Joe Rothwell and Darragh Lenihan and talisman Ben Brereton Diaz being heavily linked with a move away in recent months.
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The biggest change that will be coming in the following months though is in the managerial department with Tony Mowbray confirmed to be leaving Ewood Park at the conclusion of this season, with Gareth Ainsworth and Daniel Farke already being linked with the top job.
Another man that is reported to be on Rovers’ shortlist is ex-Derby County manager Phillip Cocu, with Football Insider reporting earlier this week that he was one man in the frame to take over from Mowbray.
Ahead of this potential approach for the Dutchman, we take a look at two pros and two cons of appointing him to take what is still a young Blackburn side forward.
Pro: An attractive style of play
Although Blackburn have played more direct at times this season, with some of their younger players having more experience under their belt now, they should have the confidence to dominate possession and be more confident on the ball.
John Buckley is one player that could be particularly integral to implementing his style of play after showing his quality on the ball over the past year, recording two goals and seven assists in the second tier this season.
The fact quite a few key players are set to leave Ewood Park should also give Cocu the space to bring in players who will suit his system, so he could make moves early this summer if he’s appointed quickly ahead of pre-season.
Because quite a few of their players are quite young including Buckley and Tyrhys Dolan, they should be more adaptable and this is why a move to Cocu-ball could potentially be a success.
Pro: An appointment for the long term?
Spending five years at the helm at PSV, Blackburn will have real hopes that Cocu can be another long-term manager for them after seeing Mowbray thrive at the helm for so long.
Although the end of the latter’s tenure hasn’t been as bright as many supporters would have hoped, he has helped to bring stability at Ewood Park and the fact he was in charge for five years has been a big part of why he has been able to provide this stability.
Unfortunately, Mowbray’s departure will bring uncertainty and this is why they need another long-term manager if they want to pick up from where they left off.
Under their current boss, the club was heading in the right direction but they will only decline if they hire and fire constantly. The younger players need this long-term manager to help their development – because a change in manager and philosophies will only stifle their progress.
Con: He doesn’t have a fantastic record in England
Considering Derby managed to get to the play-off final the season before, Cocu will perhaps be disappointed that Derby only finished 10th during his first full season in charge, though he didn’t have the likes of Mason Mount, Harry Wilson and Fikayo Tomori at his disposal like Frank Lampard did.
Nonetheless, he did manage to recruit Wayne Rooney at the start of 2020 and this should have made some sort of impact, but the Dutchman wasn’t able to take the club to the heights Lampard was and he struggled majorly during the following campaign.
Winning just one league game out of 11 and claiming just six points from a possible 33 during that torrid run, the 51-year-old played a considerable part in the Rams’ fight against relegation, so his record in England isn’t exactly the best.
This is why many see this as a risky appointment if it does materialise, so it will be interesting to see what happens if he’s given another chance to impress in the second tier.
Con: He doesn’t have the links to Blackburn that Ainsworth does
As mentioned earlier on, Wycombe boss Ainsworth has been shortlisted for the top job at Ewood Park and this may be the Chairboys’ manager’s dream considering he was born in Blackburn and even played for Rovers earlier in his career.
Because of this, he may have kept closer tabs on the second-tier side over the years than Cocu has and that may serve him well if the former is appointed and wants to hit the ground running following a long spell at Adams Park.
Because of Ainsworth’s ties to the town, the supporters may be willing to be more patient with him and in Rovers’ probable quest to have another longer-term manager at the helm, this patience could be crucial.
But with Cocu previously being at the helm at PSV for a considerable amount of time, who knows what the future holds if they appoint him?