Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Nottingham Forest saw Blackburn Rovers achieve their overall aim for their first season back in the Championship following a single season away in League One, as they ensured Championship football for another season.
Incredibly with the majority of sides having just four games of the campaign remaining, Rovers are the only side in the Championship who mathematically can neither be promoted or relegated from the Championship this season.
Just as promotion was last season, much of that is down to the goalscoring form of Rovers’ attacking duo of Bradley Dack and Danny Graham, who between them have provided 27 of Rovers’ 57 goals this season.
Ten more of those efforts have come from captain Charlie Mulgrew, with all of the Scotsman’s goals coming direct from free kicks, penalties, and yes, corners.
While those contributions have been enough to ensure Rovers did what they have to do this season, there will be an underlying concern about where the goals are going to come from longer term.
Both Graham and Mulgrew are well into their thirties and entering the latter stages of their careers – the injuries are already starting to take their toll on the Rovers skipper – while another transfer window is sure to bring about yet more speculation around the future of Dack.
Rovers therefore must find alternative, longer term, sources of goals, and they may already have one man desperate to step up to the job within their ranks.
Dominic Samuel has become something of a forgotten man for Blackburn this season, having not played since damaging his anterior cruciate ligament against former club Reading in just the fourth league game of the current campaign.
It has been a long road back since then, but the striker is edging ever closer to a return, and when he does, he could be a huge asset to the club.
Samuel has both the height and physicality to knock defenders about in the same way that Graham does, and while he may not have the same skill set as Dack, he does have the pace to get at defenders when attacking from the deeper role that Dack often plays.
The biggest concern around Samuel is arguably his finishing – all five of his league goals in Rovers promotion winning campaign came in the first four months of the season, though his chances became gradually more limited as Graham re-established as Rovers’ first choice target man.
Once Samuel is ready to go however, you feel he could be the alternative to Graham that Rovers have been missing this season, because while the 33-year-old has showed no signs of slowing up this season, he may soon be grateful for the breaks in the three game weeks that can be so testing for Championship squads.
Having Samuel around to fulfil that role could prove a welcome relief for Rovers, as well as freeing up funds to be spent in other areas of the squad, and that can be as good as a new signing in itself.