Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has revealed that whilst Harry Pickering is set to miss a considerable chunk of action due to a hamstring injury, Joe Rankin-Costello is in contention to make his return to the club’s match-day squad on Saturday.
Rovers will be looking to book their place in the fourth-round of the FA Cup when they face Wigan Athletic this weekend.
Whilst Blackburn will enter this particular clash as favourites due to the fact that they are in a higher division than the Latics, they cannot afford to underestimate their opponents as Leam Richardson’s side are currently fighting for automatic promotion in League One.
When you consider that Rovers are also looking to move up the footballing pyramid this season, it will be intriguing to see whether Mowbray decides to make some alterations to his side for this fixture.
Rankin-Costello will be hoping to make his second senior appearance of the season in this fixture after being forced to watch on from the sidelines for the entirety of the 2021/22 campaign due to a hamstring issue.
Ahead of the club’s showdown with Wigan, Mowbray issued an update on Pickering and Rankin-Costello.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference about Pickering (as cited by the club’s official Twitter account), Mowbray said: “We’ve got a few enforced changes.
“Harry Pickering is the injury that is most difficult for us.
“It’s a hamstring injury, that wasn’t as mild as first thought, so it will be 4 to 6 weeks probably.”
Making reference to Rankin-Costello, the Blackburn boss added: “He played 45 minutes for the U23s.
“I’ll probably stick him on [the] bench and if the opportunity arises he’ll get a 20 minute run out.
“If not, he’ll play 75 minutes on Sunday for the U23s, which will probably be more beneficial for him.”
Whilst losing Pickering for at least four weeks is a considerable blow for Blackburn due to the fact that the defender has played 20 games for the club in all competitions this season, they will be pleased to see that Rankin-Costello is edging closer to making a return to senior action.
The 22-year-old’s ability to play as a midfielder and as a defender could be useful for Rovers as they may need to lean on his versatility in the coming months.
Mowbray’s decision to ease Rankin-Costello back into action is a wise move as taking this particular approach will minimise the risk of another injury setback.
If Rankin-Costello is able to deliver the goods on a consistent basis between now and the end of the season, he may be able to play a role in helping Blackburn seal a return to the Premier League.