It’s now six games without a win in all competitions for Blackburn Rovers, after they were held to a 1-1 draw by local rivals Preston North End at Ewood Park on Saturday afternoon.
Things had started well for Tony Mowbray’s side on Saturday, with Adam Armstrong putting them ahead after just two minutes, taking his tally to eight goals for the season.
But Preston would pull themselves level less than 15 minutes later, when Josh Harrop fired a first-time effort emphatically into the roof of Christian Walton’s net from the edge of the area.
That was enough to secure a point apiece for the two sides, a result that keeps Blackburn 13th in the Championship standings, with a five-point deficit to the play-off places, meaning they are still not entirely out of the running for a top-six spot come the end of the season.
Here, we take a look at three things we learned about Blackburn from that draw with Preston.
Dack’s absence highlighted again
Not for the first time since Bradley Dack was stretchered off in Blackburn’s final game before Christmas, the attacker’s absence was considerably noticeable.
While Rovers were able to show they can create chances without their talisman on Saturday, the issue around finishing those opportunities appears as though it still remains.
Despite the fact he has now scored three goals in five games in all competitions since Dack’s injury – two of which were penalties – Armstrong also missed a pair of decent chances inside the North End penalty area on Saturday, the part of the pitch where Dack is often at his most clinical, and you have to wonder how different things could have been had he been on the pitch for one of those chances to fall to.
With Armstrong’s sole strike once again not enough to secure a win for Rovers, that need to be more ruthless in the final third has once again been highlighted, and you wonder if it will force their arm in the January transfer window, in order to keep those hopes of a play-off push alive.
They cannot afford for Ryan Nyambe’s injury to be a long-term one
Speaking after the game, Mowbray revealed that he is hopeful the injury that forced Ryan Nyambe out of the derby just five minutes into the second half on Saturday will not keep him out of next week’s trip to Sheffield Wednesday, and Rovers will be desperate for that to be the case.
Having missed his side’s last three games – all of which they lost – Nyambe made a welcome return to the Blackburn lineup on Saturday, and he certainly had a positive impact.
Not only did he add an element of stability to Blackburn’s defence, but going forward, the 22-year-old certainly seemed to cause problems for the left-hand side of Preston’s own backline, and you felt it was only a matter of time until he made a direct impact at the moment he was brought off.
Given the quality of his recent performances, Nyambe ought to be brimming with confidence right now, so having him available again next week to continue to build momentum, and make the sort of impact that could help Blackburn to start picking up wins again.
They need to turn draws into wins at home
That draw with Preston on Saturday, means that it is now nine league games without defeat at Ewood Park, a run that dates all the way back to the end of September.
But while that record in itself is impressive, the breakdown of those results does highlight something of a cause for concern for Rovers.
Across the course of those nine games, Blackburn have tasted victory on just four occasions, instead being forced to settle for a single point five times, including in each of their last three outings at Ewood Park.
While they are still in the play-off race for now, if those home draws do not start to become wins again, then that significant reliance on their home form – Rovers have just 13 points from 13 away games this season – is unlikely to be enough to keep them in that hunt, with the sides above likely to continue to pick up the wins required to keep them at arms length.