After three games without a win in all competitions at the end of August, Blackburn Rovers got back to winning ways following the September international break on Saturday, with a 2-0 win over Millwall at Ewood Park.
Goals in either half from Derrick Williams and Bradley Dack were enough to secure the three points for Tony Mowbray’s men, and lift them to 12th in the Championship standings after seven games of the season.
Although Mowbray himself has suggested that there is still work to do before this side can be considered the finished product, there were certainly signs of encouragement from that win on Saturday.
Here, we take a look at three things that we learned about Blackburn from their victory over Millwall.
Adarabioyo can feature alongside their preferred central defensive partnership
For the first time since their 2-0 defeat to Fulham in the second game of the season, Manchester City loanee Tosin Adarabioyo was fit enough to feature for Blackburn on Saturday.
During the 21-year-old’s absence, Republic of Ireland duo Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams were able to re-establish the partnership that proved so effective towards the back end of last season.
As a result, there had been questions as to which, if either of the pair, would drop out of the starting XI upon Adarabioyo’s return to fitness.
In the end, however, it was neither, with Mowbray electing to have the trio operate as a back three until Adarabioyo’s substitution just past the hour mark, with the trio operating effectively during their time together.
While Williams and Lenihan took the lead in terms of directly dealing with Millwall’s attacking threat, Adarabiyo complemented that nicely, picking up a number of important interceptions and showing some good distribution, meaning this is a system Mowbray should be comfortable using again.
Stewart Downing continues to look like a bargain
It’s probably fair to say that Stewart Downing won’t have been high on the transfer wish list of many Blackburn fans at the start of the summer.
But having become the club’s first arrival of the summer on a free transfer following his release from Middlesbrough, Downing’s signing is starting to look a really smart piece of business by former ‘Boro manager Mowbray.
Downing has already impressed considerably this season, with the 35-year-old appearing in all seven league games so far, starting six of those, including on Saturday.
Once again it was a tireless display the midfielder put in against Millwall, dictating play and creating chances from several areas around the pitch, and coming through 87 minutes to show that even in this late stage of his career, he is still capable of playing a big role at this level.
Bradley Dack is getting back to best
It was a slow start to the Championship campaign for Blackburn talisman Bradley Dack, who failed to score in his side’s first five league matches of the season, despite starting them all.
But having found the net inside a minute in Rovers’ 3-2 defeat at West Brom in the final game before the international break, Dack was up to his old tricks again on Saturday, showing the type of clinical finishing that has served him so well at Ewood Park, tapping home with just over 15 minutes to go to all but seal the three points for his team.
It wasn’t just his goal that will have encouraged Blackburn fans on Saturday, however.
Throughout the game, the 25-year-old made several driving runs and incisive passes that clearly troubled the Millwall defence, with Blackburn’s key man seemingly brimming with the sort of confidence that sees him create chances as well as bury them, something which the whole side often benefits from.
With his next appearance for the club set to be his 100th in a Rovers shirt, Dack will be hoping that he is really is back to top form just in time to mark that milestone.