Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray says midfielder Jacob Davenport is still some way away from a return to first-team action, despite resuming training following his latest injury lay-off.
Davenport joined Blackburn from Premier League Champions Manchester City last summer, putting pen to paper on a four-year deal at Ewood Park.
It was frustrating debut season for Davenport however, with a string of injury problems meaning he didn’t make a senior appearance until a 2-2 draw with Swansea City on the final day of the league season.
The midfielder was then hit yet another setback during the summer, as he suffered ankle ligament damage in a behind closed doors game with Macclesfield Town in pre-season, and despite making his return to training, it seems senior football will have to wait for some time yet.
Speaking to The Lancashire Telegraph about the process of getting Davenport ready to compete for the first-team again, Mowbray revealed: “Jacob is a lad who’s had a long, long injury, played some games and then within five or six weeks he had another injury.
“We just have to be careful with Jacob I would suggest. He has to play some Under-23s football again and get his confidence up again.”
Explaining the thought process behind that approach, Mowrbay added: “He needs to get used to playing in the middle of midfield, getting tackled. I’ve said to him before we have to make him robust and that’s what I feel we have to do.”
Discussing the impact that Davenport’s injury has had on both the player and club as a whole, the Blackburn manager claimed: “I like him as a footballer, I watch him in training and he’s moving the ball around the pitch, a lovely left foot, but since he’s signed he’s not been able to stay fit for a great length of time.
“That’s been upsetting for him and frustrating for us as well.”
Having won two and drawn one of their opening six games of the season, Blackburn currently sit 17th in the Championship ahead of the visit of Millwall to Ewood Park on Saturday.
This will be hugely frustrating for plenty around the club, not least Davenport himself.
Having been made to wait for so long to finally make his debut, the fact that he has yet to build on that is unlikely to be helping his mood as he looks to kick start his career once more.
That being said, Mowbray hasn’t been one to risk players who have been hampered by injury during his time with Blackburn, and you can fully understand why he doesn’t want to do with someone who has had so many issues in such a short space of time.
Having shown signs of promise on his debut for Rovers, and with his history at Manchester City, I expect there will be a good deal of expectation around Davenport when he is finally able to make his return to the senior side.