It was a late lifeline Blackburn handed to Jack Rodwell in the summer, the season already four games old when the club announced his arrival, it was also an unlikely one.
Since arriving on a short term deal until the end of the season following his departure from Sunderland at the end of the last campaign, Rodwell has been used not in his natural position in midfield, but at centre back, offering cover when one of the first choice duo of Darragh Lenihan and club captain Charlie Mulgrew.
Rodwell’s performances in that unfamiliar position have been steady enough, but they haven’t stopped Rovers from leaking more goals in the division than any other side in the Championship outside the division’s bottom three. It is that that appears to have already convinced manager Tony Mowbray to head back into the market for a centre back in the summer.
According to The Lancashire Telegraph, the man at the top of Mowbray’s shopping list is Charlton defender Patrick Bauer, and Rovers have been given a fresh boost after Addicks manager Lee Bowyer confirmed that the German extend his contract at the club – which expires at the end of the season – unless they can win promotion to the Championship this season.
LB ???? "Pat Bauer made it clear last summer that he won’t sign another contract. I think the only chance we have of him staying here is if we get promoted. He has been excellent for us and his performances have been outstanding, but we can’t control it." #cafc
— Charlton Athletic FC (@CAFCofficial) March 28, 2019
That could be bad news for Rodwell. With Mulgrew and Lenihan contracted to the club for two and three more seasons respectively, Bauer’s potential arrival could see the three-time England international out in the cold once more, given Mowbray has been happy to work with just three centre backs in his squad this season. While the impressive performances of Under 23s captain Tyler Magloire in stepping into the first team in the absence of the all three of Mulgrew, Lenihan and Rodwell through injury giving Mowbray another option to call upon.
With Rovers far from short of options in midfield either, Rodwell could well be the odd one out when the music stops and the squad numbers are allocated at the end of next season, and for the second time in twelve months, find himself having to find a club to keep his once all so promising career going.