Blackburn Rovers defender Derrick Williams is set to miss the opening weeks of the new Championship season with a calf injury, manager Tony Mowbray has confirmed.
It was a frustrating return to the second tier with Rovers for Williams last season, as injuries limited the 26-year-old to just 27 league appearances. That, combined with some disappointing performances and two red cards saw him lose his choice as the club’s first-choice left-back to Amari’i Bell.
Williams did end the season on the high however, impressing at centre back alongside fellow Irishman Darragh Lenihan in the final six games of the campaign as Rovers ended the season with four wins and just a single defeat – to eventual champions Norwich – in that time.
The defender is yet to feature in pre-season for the Lancashire side, and speaking about Williams’ current fitness issues, Rovers manager Tony Mowbray was quoted by the Lancashire Telegraph as saying: “A calf strain. It’s a real frustration for us.
“It was going to be a six-week injury so he’s been unavailable for us so far.”
That means that Williams is set to miss the club’s opening game of the season at home to newly-promoted Charlton Athletic on the 3rd August, with Rovers making the trip to London to face recently relegated Fulham the following week.
Williams’ injury means that Lenihan and club captain Charlie Mulgrew are currently Rovers’ only two senior centre backs available, although Tosin Adarbioyo is expected to join on a season-long loan from Manchester City imminently.
This will be a worry for Blackburn.
Despite his troubles earlier in the year, Williams was outstanding at centre back in the final six games of the season, and it is perhaps no coincidence that it was at that point that Rovers showed arguably their best form of the entire campaign during that period.
The other concern around this for Rovers is that Williams will not have had any pre-season friendlies with which to familiarise himself with the club’s setup for the coming campaign, meaning he will be less familiar with the new systems and players set to be used by the club next season.
There has however been much talk about the club’s recruitment in the defensive areas this summer, and the loss of Williams may just force the club to up the ante somewhat when it comes to searching for new additions in that area of the park.