Sky Sports pundit Andy Hinchcliffe has admitted that if Ben Brereton Diaz is able to perform at his very best in Blackburn Rovers’ last three games of the season, there is a chance that the club could still secure a top-six finish in the Championship.
The Chile international has been a stand-out performer for Rovers this season as he has scored 21 goals for the club in the second-tier.
However, since making his return from injury earlier this month, the forward has failed to find the back of the net in three of his last four appearances.
A run of three defeats and two draws in their last five league games has hindered Blackburn’s progress in the Championship.
Yet despite this lack of form, Tony Mowbray’s side are still only three points adrift of Sheffield United who currently occupy the final play-off spot in the Championship.
Blackburn will be looking to bounce back from their recent defeats to Peterborough United and Stoke City when they head to Deepdale to face Preston North End on April 25th.
Ahead of this fixture, Hinchcliffe has offered an assessment on the current situation that Blackburn find themselves in.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast about Rovers, Hinchcliffe said: “If you look at the season they’ve had and Ben Brereton Diaz, they are not exactly a one-man team but you look at those 19 games that they’ve played in 2022, Brereton Diaz has only been involved in 10 of them.
“So that the problem is when you’ve got someone who is scoring goals as regularly as he is and he’s missing, it’s not just he’s missing the goals, the team psychologically feel that if he’s not playing and not around, how are we going to score as we always rely on him and that is the major problem.
“But he is back and again they’ve got games, Preston and Birmingham to play, they’ve got Bournemouth in there as well, they could possibly win two of those three games and you just never know.
“But again, Tony Mowbray’s teams seem to just famously fall away at the end of seasons and I do think he’s done a pretty decent job there in getting them into a position to threaten.
“It’s still not over, they still could make it but it was all about Brereton Diaz, we knew his importance to Blackburn so if he can really fire over the last couple of games then there is a possibility there but him missing for six/seven/eight weeks there was no way that they had the players who could step in and score the goals that he is capable of.”
It could be argued that anything less than three points for Blackburn in their clash with Preston next week will spell the end of their push for a play-off place as they simply cannot afford to slip up yet again at this stage of the season.
Even if Brereton Diaz is firing on all cylinders in their next three league fixtures, Rovers will need results elsewhere to go their way if they are to qualify for the play-offs.
Although Brereton Diaz has shown that he is more than capable of winning a game on his own this season, it is important that some of Blackburn’s other attacking players step up to the mark between now and the end of the season.