We’re already nearly halfway through the November international break, and for Blackburn Rovers, attention will already be starting to turn towards a return to domestic action a week on Saturday.
A run of just one win in eight games has left Tony Mowbray’s side 18th in the Championship standings, ten points adrift of the top six spots that many around the club had been hoping they could challenge for this season.
That situation has admittedly not been helped by injuries, with Rovers finding themselves missing a number of options on several occasions this year, which has at times limited the ways in which Mowbray can rotate and improve his side.
Rovers therefore, will be hoping to see the injury situation around the club improve over the next week or so, ahead of that return to action and the crucial Christmas period that is to come.
Here, we take a look at the latest injury situation around Ewood Park with regards to those first-team players who have found themselves on the sidelines recently.
One new injury concern to have arisen for Rovers this week centres around Derrick Williams.
The versatile defender scored his first goal for the Republic of Ireland in their 3-1 friendly over New Zealand on Thursday, before the 26-year-old was forced off with what manager Mick McCarthy later revealed to be a calf strain.
It has since been announced by the Irish FA that Williams has been ruled out of Monday’s crucial Euro 2020 qualifier with Denmark, which does at least mean Rovers have some time to try and get him ready for their next game a week on Saturday, when they host Barnsley at Ewood Park.
A longer-term absentee, Lenihan hasn’t featured for Blackburn since suffering a knee injury in a 4-2 defeat away at QPR in the final game before the October international break.
It seems however that a return to action may now not be too far away for the Irishman, after Mowbray revealed recently that he is hopeful – but not certain – that he will be available for that first game after the break on the 23rd November.
Lenihan has continued to develop into a key figure at the back for Rovers this season, and having appeared in ten of their 11 league games prior to his injury, you feel they will be desperate to see the defender back in the side sooner rather than later.
One defender Rovers will sadly not be seeing back anytime soon, is Greg Cunningham.
Like Lenihan, the left-back limped out of that defeat to QPR with injury, although the torn ACL he suffered means he will not be returning to action this season.
Cunningham has recently given a positive update on the start of his recovery, speaking about his aims of getting back onto the pitch next season, although given he is only at Blackburn on loan from Cardiff until the end of the season, it remains to be seen if that will be in a Rovers shirt.
Following a difficult first season at Ewood Park during the previous campaign, it has been a frustrating start to the current football year for Ben Brereton as well.
Having made just two appearances in August since the start of the new season, Brereton has since been kept out of first-team action with a knee injury that has required surgery.
But having played 60 minutes for the club’s Under 23s against Middlesbrough last week, Brereton could now be in line to play the full 90 minutes for the youth team in a Premier League International Cup game against Hertha Berlin on Friday.
After that, Mowbray is hopeful that the 20-year-old will once again be in contention to feature for the senior side.
Having finally returned from a 13-month layoff with a torn ACL at the end of September, things have again taken a frustrating turn for Samuel.
The striker made two brief appearances from the bench for the senior side in the run-up to October international break, before finding himself back on the sidelines with a groin injury.
Samuel now finds himself on the same schedule as Brereton in his bid to make his way back to first-team contention, featuring for an hour for the Under 23s last week, with another run out expected on Friday before a potential return to the senior side.
For the minute, Blackburn are at least not hampered by any suspensions, which is likely to be a relief given the injuries they are dealing with.
There are however, four members of the senior side – Lenihan, Williams, Elliott Bennett and Lewis Travis – who are one booking any from receiving a one-match suspension.
Given there are still three matches to go until that threshold for suspension is extended, the quartet will have to tread carefully for that run of games, which sees Blackburn host Barnsley and Brentford before travelling to the Bet365 Stadium to face Stoke City.