Having just won promotion from the League One following a single season at that level, Blackburn Rovers laid down a statement of intent ahead of their return to the Championship in the summer of 2018, with the signing of Ben Brereton.
The highly-rated young striker, who had already impressed during his time at Nottingham Forest – making over 50 appearances for the club as a teenager – made the move to Ewood Park for a reported £7million.
Given the size of that price tag, there will have been plenty of pressure and expectation on the striker to be make a positive impression at Lancashire.
So how has Brereton fared at Ewood Park during his time with Blackburn so far? Here, we’ve taken a look in FLW’s latest hat-trick feature.
How’s it gone so far?
It’s probably no secret that Brereton hasn’t quite produced as Rovers would have hoped during his time with the club so far.
Having missed a string of stand out chances across the course of the campaign, Brereton was made to wait until the final month of his debut season with Blackburn to net his first goal for the club – in a 2-0 win over then already-relegated Bolton.
That was not something the striker was able to build on last season, when injury and the form of others made it hard for him to force his way into the side, and it wasn’t until the penultimate game of the season that he added to his goal tally for the club.
This season, things have started in more promising fashion for Brereton. The 21-year-old has already got off the mark with a brilliant volley in the defeat at Watford, and a run in the side has seen his influence and confidence grow, not least with a brace of assists in a recent 4-0 win at Coventry, where he also won the penalty that saw the Sky Blues reduced to ten men, and Rovers open the scoring within 15 minutes.
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What issues does he face?
Despite those signs of promise at the start of the campaign, they have not been consistent, and there are still moments games where Brereton has struggled to make an impact.
With that in mind, the pressure will still be on the young striker to produce the sort of performances Rovers will have wanted from him when they paid what they did for Brereton, on a regular basis.
The obvious issue that Brereton will continue to be judged on as things stand, is his lack of goals for the club, and until that changes, there is likely to some questions about Rovers’ investment in the club.
Indeed, with top scorer Adam Armstrong currently out of the side through injury, and Bradley Dack still on the sidelines for the time being, the pressure is now on Brereton to step up and get the goals required to help keep Rovers competitive until they make their return.
With the lack of alternative options in his options, Brereton will likely once again be starting for Blackburn when they host QPR at Ewood Park on Saturday.
Given the problems Mark Warburton’s side have endured at times this season, Brereton may well see that game as an opportunity to once again show what he is capable of at this level.
After that game, Brereton will likely be glad of a rest with the international break considering the unusually long run he has had in the side, which should give him a chance to rest and reflect on this recent string of games.
On the other side of that break however, Brereton may well find his place on the side under more threat, with Armstrong likely to be back from injury and Dack’s return moving ever closer, which could be the true indicator of just how big a player he can be for Blackburn going forward.