Amid a slow start to the summer transfer window, there was only one new faces in Blackburn Rovers’ starting lineup for their 2-1 win over Swansea City on the opening day of this season.
That came in the form of Harry Pickering, with the left-back having completed a permanent move to Rovers from Crewe Alexandra on the final day of the 2021 winter transfer window.
Pickering had then spent the second half of last season back at Crewe on loan, making the opening months of the 2021/22 season his first in a Blackburn shirt.
With the 22-year-old having arrived at Ewood Park with a great deal of expectation on his shoulders, there will have been a great deal of interest in how the young full-back has coped with his first experience of the Championship.
So here, we’ve taken a look at some of the big questions that might need to be asked about Pickering’s time as Blackburn player up to now.
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How’s it gone so far?
It has been a promising, and indeed eventful, start to life at Ewood Park for Pickering.
The 22-year-old has started, and finished, all 12 games across league and cup that Blackburn have competed in since the start of the season.
That has seen Pickering establish himself as the club’s first-choice left-back for the time being, and he has seemingly become more confident defensively as the season has gone on.
As well as that, the fact Pickering has already chipped in with a goal and an assist – the sort of attacking contribution Rovers manager Tony Mowbray likes to see from his full-backs – it has been a rather solid first few months as a Blackburn player for the defender.
What challenges does he face?
While Pickering has had the left-back spot nailed down up until now, competition looks set to increase as the season goes on.
The final day of the summer transfer window saw Blackburn bring in another option on that side of their defence, with Tayo Edun arriving on a permanent basis from Lincoln City.
With Edun now working his way up to fitness, and showing flashes of promise during his substitute appearances so far, that could mean Pickering’s place in the starting XI may not be guaranteed for much longer.
As well as that, Pickering will also be hoping to help Rovers cope with the pressure of maintaining a push for the play-offs, which is already threatening to stumble again, after back to back defeats in games they started in sixth in the Championship table.
This you feel, is the start of a long-term project for Pickering from an individual perspective.
Having signed a contract with Blackburn until the end of the 2024/25 season, the left-back is still in the very early stages of his Ewood Park career.
Indeed, at 22-years-old, there is still plenty of time remaining in his career as a whole, and with this his first experience in the Championship, he will no doubt be looking at this as an opportunity to develop to the point where he can play even further up the football pyramid in the future.
As a result, the left-back is a player who could be well worth keeping an eye on going forward.