This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Blackburn Rovers moved to within a point of the automatic promotion positions with a 4-0 victory over Birmingham City yesterday afternoon.
A Ben Brereton Diaz brace, and goals from John Buckley and Reda Khadra, earned the home side all three points in a dominant display over the Blues.
Rovers have now won their last five Championship matches, and sitting at the midpoint of the second-tier campaign, they will certainly fancy their chances of making the play-offs at least come May.
Quiz: Have Blackburn Rovers signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
Sitting a point from Bournemouth in second and three points from Fulham at the Championship summit, can we class Blackburn as genuine automatic promotion candidates.
Three of our writers here at FLW have shared their thoughts on this question…
It’s hard to say it as a Preston North End fan, but it’s looking like Rovers are genuine promotion contenders at this point.
At the start of the season when Rovers lost Adam Armstrong and didn’t replace him I was worried for them – even with all his goals last season they never threatened to get in the play-offs and eventually finished in 15th.
Something has just clicked though this season – especially after that 7-0 drubbing by Fulham they’ve gone on a run of 19 points out of a possible 21 and that’s testament to the job Tony Mowbray has done.
Obviously Ben Brereton Diaz has really stepped up but so have long-serving young players like Darragh Lenihan, Ryan Nyambe and Joe Rothwell – all three have contracts that expire in the summer and January is going to be absolutely crucial.
If Mowbray can keep hold of them until the end of the season and perhaps tie one or two down to new deals in January then I see no reason as to why they can’t keep the momentum up and give Fulham and Bournemouth something to think about – if they are cherry-picked though in January I think they may drop down the table.
Following their recent run of results in the Championship, Blackburn simply have to be considered as legitimate contenders for automatic promotion as they are absolutely flying under the guidance of Tony Mowbray.
As well as showing an abundance of attacking creativity at this level, Rovers have also managed to demonstrate that they are capable of delivering the goods in a defensive sense.
Since the return of Scott Wharton, Blackburn have prevented their opponents from scoring in five of their last seven league games.
Providing that they are able to keep Ben Brereton Diaz at the club in January, Rovers will have a fantastic chance of securing a return to the top-flight at the end of the season.
Blackburn’s current run of form will certainly lead you to believe that they could be genuine candidates for the automatic promotion places.
They’ve capitalised recently on both Fulham and Bournemouth dropping points and seem a better side going forward than West Brom who are the other contender.
However, there are a lot of plates spinning with this Blackburn side. They have a number of players out of contract in the summer that include the likes of Darragh Lenihan, Ryan Nyambe and Thomas Kaminski meaning they may be under pressure to sell in January.
This could obviously swing things and that’s before we mention the mounting transfer speculation surrounding Ben Brereton-Diaz. If Blackburn can get through January without losing any key members of their squad, then aiming high for the automatics should be a target.
They have the quality to do it, and have now unlocked a balance that hasn’t been present in past seasons. They are due to welcome back Bradley Dack into the fold as well which will only strengthen the promotion push.