Sitting in the press conference room at Ewood Park on Friday night, you didn’t need Tony Mowbray to walk into the room and utter the painstaking words ‘Not good’, to know that Bradley Dack was facing a long spell back on the sidelines.
The length and nature of treatment the Blackburn talisman was given on the pitch, and the expressions of his teammates both present and – in the case of Brentford goalkeeper David Raya, who was caught up in that collision with Dack – seemed like enough evidence to leave you certain that the Rovers attacker was now facing another lengthy injury layoff.
Mowbray’s comments in the post-match press conference simply backed that up while emphasising the emotional blow the sight of Dack back on a stretcher – with the same anterior cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for almost all of 2020, only this time on the other leg – had dealt to those associated with Blackburn Rovers.
The news from Tuesday’s pre-match press conference that Dack is indeed now set for surgery, only went to confirm what many of a Rovers had already started to come to terms with, and the – second – long road back has seemingly already begun for the attacker.
First and foremost, the thoughts of those associated with the club will be with Dack himself, with many well aware of the work and effort he had put in to return from those 12 months out, and the disappointment he must feel at being back at square one just a few months later, at a time when he was just starting to look like his old, mercurial self as well, making this so disappointing for so many.
But away from the emotional impact of the events of Friday night and the days that have followed, it is hard not to feel that this latest setback for Dack, has now left Blackburn with yet another issue to deal with come the summer transfer window.
With no fewer than 11 senior players set to see their contracts at Ewood Park expire at the end of this season, and five more only on loan until the end of the season, this was always going to be a busy summer for Blackburn, and the injury to Dack is only going to add to the work they have to do.
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The fact of the matter is, if as looks to be the case, Dack is out for a similar amount of time to his last injury, then he is unlikely to be back around March 2022, by which point so much may have already been decided with regards to next season, and as we have seen over the past few months, the attacker will still need some time to get back up to speed, meaning it may not be until the 2022/23 campaign we see the best of the Blackburn talisman again.
It is worth noting however, that this time around, Blackburn may not have someone to step into the breach for Dack, with Adam Armstrong not surprisingly attracting interest from the Premier League, following his remarkable efforts in filling the goalscoring void left by Dack following his original injury.
If Armstrong is to leave this summer, then Rovers may well have hoped that a fully fit and firing available to return the favour and helped fill the gap potentially left by the Geordie in the goalscoring stakes.
That however, is something that will now seemingly not be happening next season, and with no other Rovers players having scored more than five league goals so far this season, it feels that the club cannot afford to risk not bringing in replacements for Dack, and, should he leave, Armstrong.
What that means is that on top of the deals Rovers need to do in other areas of the pitch, with contracts and loans for numerous players expiring in both defence and midfield, the Lancashire club may now also be facing the prospect of having to go out and sign two new goalscorers to cover for Dack and Armstrong, as well as either securing new deals for those that will players who are soon to be free agents, or finding replacements for them.
Given the challenge that will then pose to Mowbray when it comes to gelling what could be a relatively new and unfamiliar squad together, it is clear that Rovers are going to have to get their business absolutely right this summer.
It has been suggested that if he is to leave Ewood Park this summer, then Blackburn will be demanding a fee of around £25million for Armstrong, and if that is to be the case, then with a replacement for Dack the latest on an already long shopping list for Mowbray, boy are Rovers going to have to make sure that they are spend those funds in the right way.