With Christian Walton’s loan and Jayson Leutwiler’s contract both expiring at the end of last season, this summer was always going to be one of upheaval in the goalkeeping position at Blackburn Rovers.
The departure of not one but two senior goalkeepers meant the pressure was on Rovers to get things right with their recruitment between the posts, not least with the shortened turn around from last season to this one.
Fortunately for Tony Mowbray and co. Rovers were – despite a relatively quiet first few weeks of the transfer window – able to get their new number one in with plenty of time before the new season, with Thomas Kaminski arriving from Gent in mid-August.
The arrival of the Belgian has appeared increasingly inspired with each passing game, with the 27-year-old already looking every but the number one Rovers were hoping for as they aim to push on towards the play-off places this season.
Up until now however, competition for Kaminski has been rather lacking, although it seems as though that could be about to change.
With less than an hour remaining in the international summer transfer window on Monday night, reports began to emerge that Rovers had a made a late move to bring in Greek youth international Antonis Stergiakis on a permanent basis from Bulgarian side Slavia Sofia.
While at the time of writing, that deal has yet to be confirmed, the suggestion is that all necessary paperwork was done in time, and Stergiakis will be a Blackburn Rovers player sooner rather than later.
Should that happen officially, there can be no doubt that Blackburn should be making moves to ensure that it is a case of one in and one out in the goalkeeping department in the next few days.
In the absence of a senior goalkeeper to challenge Kaminski for the number one spot in the opening few weeks of the season, the inexperienced Andy Fisher – whose only previous Football League game time came in the EFL Trophy for Rovers in 2017/18, and Northampton during an ill-fated loan spell last season – has been operating as the deputy to Kaminski.
However, when that saw Fisher step in between the posts for Rovers’ pre-season friendlies and Carabao Cup Round 1 tie with Doncaster while Kaminski quarantined following his move from Belgium, the 22-year-old did not exactly cover himself in glory.
The dropping of a fairly routine looking corner to hand Leicester the lead in a 1-1 friendly draw at The King Power, and a not altogether convincing performance in the Cup against Doncaster – when he might have done better for the visitors second in what turned out to be a 3-2 win for Blackburn at Ewood Park – highlighted the need for Fisher to go out on loan and experience the regular first-team football he needs to get those errors out of his game.
Now, the hopefully imminent arrival of Stergiakis – ironically one year Fisher’s junior, but with many more professional appearances, and even a Bulgarian Cup winners medal to his name – ought to give Rovers the scope to do that without worrying about leaving them short should they be without Kaminski due to some form of enforced absence.
Indeed, with the recent form Fisher has shown when given the chance between the posts for Rovers, you feel it is essential he now gets that game time elsewhere, if he is to improve to the point where he can be given another chance to step in between the posts for the Lancashire club in the future.
The fact that Fisher has got to 22 without being given that opportunity with a temporary move elsewhere that gives him regular football is somewhat surprising, and that is unlikely to have helped him when it came to filling in at the start of pre-season.
Now however, Fisher will surely be hoping he gets the chance to do that, and while the fact that the season is already underway and the transfer window is drawing to a close means there may not be too many more vacancies for an on loan number one, it does feel like a move Rovers have to try to make happen one way or another, if Fisher is to get that chance of being considered for a place between the posts at Ewood Park again at some point in the future.