Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has confirmed the club have exercised a clause to end left-back Greg Cunningham’s loan move from Cardiff, with the view to raising funds to bring players into Ewood Park in January.
Cunningham joined Rovers on a season-long loan from the Welsh side on the final day of the summer transfer window, and made ten appearances in all competitions for Mowbray’s side, before his season was ended by a cruciate knee ligament injury at the start of October.
The 28-year-old had remained with Rovers up until now while beginning his rehabilitation, but will now return to his parent club, with Mowbray telling the Lancashire Telegraph: “I think that’s a business situation, I would suggest. We all like Greg, he’s good around the building, all the players really bought in to his personality and character.
“But he’s not our footballer, he’s their footballer for the next 18 months. He’ll be going back to get his rehabilitation done back at his parent club and I think that will be done soon.
“We had a send back option as well, it works both ways generally.”
Explaining the thinking behind that decision in more detail, Mowbray continued: “I think it’s a business decision when the terminology of contract is there and they can recall, and you can send back, we either sit here and pay X amount of money on a salary of a player that can’t play for us, or we send him back to his parent club.
“That excess money can then be spent on a new signing coming in, the money that would have been spent on Greg sitting in a treatment room for the next six months.”
There are 18 months remaining on Cunningham’s contract with Cardiff, securing his future in the Welsh capital until the end of next season, although it is thought that Rovers could look to move for the Irishman on a permanent basis once he has recovered from this injury.
I think this is probably the right call for Rovers to make.
Cunningham’s injury has left them short on the left-hand side of defence in particular, so it makes sense for them to raise some funds to go out and sign some cover in that area of the pitch, rather than pay for one who is unable to make that sort of contribution.
It will be interesting to see just how far these funds go, which could be crucial for Rovers when it comes to bringing in players who can help them to push for the play-offs all the way through to the end of the season.
Given the popularity he gained at Ewood Park, and the quality of his performances on the pitch, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise for me if Rovers did look to bring Cunningham back to the club at some point in the near future either.