Blackburn Rovers boss Tony Mowbray is sweating on the fitness of both Daniel Ayala and Darragh Lenihan ahead of Tuesday night’s match against Huddersfield Town.
The Lancashire side have been in fine form recently and key to their success has been the partnership of the two aforementioned centre-backs.
It’s a pairing that wasn’t used much at all last season thanks to Ayala’s injury struggles which restricted him to just 10 league appearances, but he’s almost matched that tally already by featuring in all nine matches during the 2021-22 campaign, scoring twice.
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Lenihan has also featured in every match but both players had issues during the 5-1 drubbing of Cardiff City this weekend that has left the pair as doubts to face the Terriers.
Mowbray will run the rule over both defenders before Carlos Corberan brings his side to Ewood Park on Tuesday evening but he is confident that both men will be fine to feature come kick off.
“He was feeling his groin so at 4-0 we brought him off to try and protect him because we’ve got another game on Tuesday,” Mowbray said on Lenihan, per LancsLive.
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“Ayala, he played 10 games last year, and for a team that had so much of the ball and so many shots on the opposition goal, he was a miss for us and we’re seeing the benefits of having Daniel Ayala in our team at the start of the season.
“We’ll see how he is. Hopefully everyone is available (for Tuesday). Hopefully for Daniel it was a bit of cramp because he had to work very hard for us. Fingers crossed he will be ready for Tuesday.”
Losing one of their main centre-backs would be a blow, but for both to miss out at the same time would be a disaster for Mowbray.
Both Lenihan and Ayala have been influential to their start to the season and both also provide a threat from set pieces having scored three times between them so far.
Ayala’s fitness is always going to be a concern as it has been poor over the years but there’s nothing to worry about if it’s just a touch of cramp.
Hayden Carter is an able deputy for either should he have to come in on Tuesday evening but Mowbray really can’t lose both players ahead of a big game and fans will have their fingers crossed that both are passed fit.