Right now, you couldn’t blame any Blackburn Rovers fan for being concerned about the future of Joe Rothwell.
As things stand, the midfielder’s current contract at Ewood Park is set to expire at the end of this season, meaning now that we are into October, it is just a few months until Rothwell is able to sign pre-contract agreements with clubs outside of England.
Indeed, it does seem as though there is the possibility of that happening, with recent reports claiming that Scottish champions Rangers are planning a January move for the 26-year-old.
It has even been suggested that the prospect of an immediate sale in January could be on the cards for Rothwell, something which could make some financial sense for Blackburn. That way, they can at least receive some sort of fee for the midfielder, rather than see him leave for nothing in the summer.
That would however, be a big loss on the pitch for Tony Mowbray’s side, given the fact that when he is on his game, Rothwell can be a huge asset to the club, with his penetrating runs from deep capable f causing problems for many a defender.
Given Rothwell has also started all 11 of Blackburn’s league games so far this season, it would leave a void in the Lancashire side’s lineup that would surely need replacing.
Considering the fact that Rovers failed to bring in a replacement for last season’s top scorer Adam Armstrong during the summer transfer window, there may be some supporters of the club left concerned about whether they are able to do that.
It is worth noting however, even if the club elect not to dip into the transfer window to bring in a replacement for Rothwell should the midfielder move on in January, the blow of the loss of the 26-year-old, could well be softened, by the return of a certain Bradley Dack.
It is now just over seven months since Dack was stretchered off the Ewood Park pitch late on in a 1-0 defeat to Brentford, having suffered an ACL injury for the second time in the as many seasons.
But with Dack anticipated return date expected to come at the turn of the year, his latest road to recovery could be timed perfectly, to help Rovers cope with the potential loss of Rothwell.
Admittedly, Dack is not a player who is likely to produce the sort of runs from deep that Rothwell does when it comes to taking the game to an opposition side, or perhaps drop deep as the 26-year-old can do on occasions.
What you feel Dack will certainly provide more of once he is back on the pitch at Ewood Park, is end product.
In his 131 appearances in all competitions since joining Rovers in the summer of 2017, Dack has scored 49 goals and provided 22 assists.
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By contrast Rothwell – who has now featured a total of 130 times for Blackburn – has eights goals and 11 assists to his name for the club.
Even with the fact that Dack had a season in League One with Rovers – which Rothwell did not – he is certainly still the more prolific of the two.
That of course, will be a welcome boost for Rovers when he returns, adding an extra, more significant threat to their side even if Rothwell is to move on for pastures new at that same time.
Considering the fact that right now, Mowbray’s side are largely relying on Ben Brereton – who himself seems certain to attract transfer interest come January after his recent form – with supporting roles from Sam Gallagher and Tyrhys Dolan, to get the goals Rovers need to be competitive in the league, the return of Dack will undoubtedly be a welcome one for Mowbray and co.
In an ideal world, Blackburn fans would surely prefer to see Rothwell, and others, put pen to paper on new contracts, to coincide with Dack’s resumption of his own career.
Things rarely work out as you want them to in football though, and if Rothwell is to move on from Ewood Park come the turn of the year, then the fairly simultaneous return to action of Dack will allow those of a Rovers persuasion to look at this situation at least, with a sense that the glass is still half-full.