This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
In all honesty, the summer transfer window didn’t exactly slam shut on Blackburn Rovers this year, so much as it creaked closed as Greg Cunningham edged his way into the one at Ewood Park, with Charlie Mulgrew not squeezing his way out of it to make the move to Wigan until the morning after the official closing date.
But when all that was said and done, there was an overwhelming sense that Blackburn had taken a big risk defensively, with only six recognised senior defenders – and makeshift right-back Elliott Bennett – left on their books heading into the new campaign.
Indeed, that is something that has already proven to be the case, with a season-ending injury to on-loan Cardiff left-back Cunningham, and a six-eight week-long one picked up by centre back Darragh Lenihan in the same defeat at QPR leaving Rovers worryingly short at the back.
Now however, it seems as though events over the past few weeks have only served to have enhanced those issues in Rovers’ backline, meaning that their hopes in the centre of their defence especially, could be set to rest on the shoulders of one man in particular.
Following his season-long loan move from Manchester City in the summer transfer window, Tosin Adarabioyo had, in part due to his own injury problems, endured a slow start to his time at Ewood Park, before Lenihan’s injury handed the 22-year-old the opportunity to stake his claim for a place in the centre of Rovers’ defence.
Having done that in impressive fashion, it now seems as though Adarabioyo is in some effects, about to be given the responsibility of not just playing in Blackburn’s defence, but leading it.
Has Tosin Adarabioyo been a good loan signing for Blackburn?
Up next for Tony Mowbray’s side after the November international break is the visit of bottom-side Barnsley to Ewood Park, and as things stand, it is hard to know quite who Rovers will actually be able to turn to alongside Adarabioyo in the centre of defence, with the extent of Blackburn’s problems in that area of the pitch yet to fully become clear
While Derrick Williams was able to make a significant breakthrough as he headed in his first international goal for the Republic of Ireland during their friendly win over New Zealand on Thursday, the versatile defender – who has spent plenty of time at centre back recently – then picked up a calf strain that has forced him to withdraw from the squad, potentially putting his involvement for Rovers in the next few weeks in jeopardy, considering it is a similar injury to the one that kept him out of the majority of pre-season.
Elsewhere, it seems the situation with regards to Lenihan remains somewhat unclear, after Mowbray admitted recently that he was hopeful but not certain that the Irishman would be able to return for the clash with Barnsley on Saturday.
If neither Williams or Lenihan are able to make it against Barnsley, then it could be right-back Ryan Nyambe who lines up alongside Adarabioyo in the centre of defence when they take on the Tykes, just as he had done in the two games prior to the international break.
Even that however, may not be the most reliable selection for Mowbray to make, with Nyambe likely to be feeling the miles in his legs in both a footballing and travelling sense after the international break, after starting twice in two Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers for Namibia over the long weekend, at home against Chad and away in Guinea.
It seems therefore, that be it due to injuries or fatigue, whoever it is that lines up alongside Adarabioyo for Rovers on Saturday, is unlikely to be competing at 100%, meaning the Manchester City could have a lot to do to make up for that this weekend.
That does feel like a lot to ask of someone who is still only just making his way in the game, but if Adarabioyo can do that, then it will be yet another sign of the potential he has to make it to the very top with his parent club.
With Mowbray having previously praised Adarabioyo for making a similar contribution to that in that recent 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday, that is something he may well feel confident of doing.