BOWYER COOL ON JOB TALK
BLACKBURN caretaker manager Gary Bowyer cooled talk of taking the job on full-time despite the draw with Birmingham securing their Championship status.
Jordan Rhodes’ 30th league goal of the season secured a point for Rovers and cancelled out Ravel Morrison’s first-half opener at St Andrew’s.
Despite a season of upheaval off the field – which saw the dismissal of three permanent managers in Steve Kean, Henning Berg and Michael Appleton – a 17th-placed finish can be regarded as a relative success for Bowyer, himself in his second spell in caretaker charge this season.
But rather than talk about his own situation, Bowyer called on Rovers to keep hold of star striker Rhodes and build the team around him to challenge for promotion next season.
“I’ve had no indications from the owners, but hopefully we’ll find out more in the coming week,” he said.
“The main conversations have been getting through these games and that had to be the case. It’s an important summer for the football club.
“I’ve got to do what the club ask me to do and our main aim was to stay in the division, which we’ve achieved and credit needs to go to the players and supporters for sticking together.
“This is the first time I’ve enjoyed it as we’re safe now. The actual enjoyment of staying in this division is sinking in now.
“It was a great finish from Jordan, he was in the right place in the right time and he’s been outstanding for us all season.
“He’s contracted to the club and we need to build the team around him. We’re not naïve about him attracting interest but we need to build and get some stability at the club.”
Morgaro Gomis went close for the Blues in the first minute with a 30yard effort that went wide of Grzegorz Sandomierski’s goal.
Nikola Zigic could have given Birmingham the lead after chesting down Chris Burke’s 26th-minute right-wing cross but the Serbian shot wide.
Right back Paul Caddis then received Nathan Redmond’s crossfield pass on the right and cut inside to find Burke but his shot went straight at Sandomierski.
But ex-Manchester United trainee Morrison put the Blues ahead with a composed 42nd-minute low driven shot from the left side of the area.
David Jones hit the crossbar with a curling free-kick from the right-wing as Rovers searched for an equaliser.
And they got their goal through top scorer Rhodes’ close-range header on 66 minutes.
Birmingham manager Lee Clark claims he’s excited by the prospect of revamping his squad over the summer.
“Without a doubt, I’m looking forward to the summer,” he said “It’s going to be hectic and busy and I’m looking forward to building a vibrant squad.
“It’s going to be exactly the same as this season in terms of no transfer fees and the budget is nowhere near where it was.
“The young players have been brilliant and they deserve that opportunity. They’ll be hungry players brought in with three or four senior heads to set an example.
“It’s disappointing to finish 12th and we’ve lost a couple of places because of goal difference so that’s been our Achilles’ heel.
“Morrison took his goal well – the quicker he realises he can do things like that the better as he went past people as if they weren’t there.”
SHARP SHOOTER: Jordan Rhodes celebrates after scoring the first goal for Blackburn
UNLEASHING: David Goodwillie has a shot for Rovers