Rhodes rumours fine for Gary
SPECULATION about Jordan Rhodes may be testing Gary Bowyer’s patience, but the Blackburn boss concedes he would welcome more rumours if they continue to inspire his star striker after the Scot’s double downed Charlton.
The 25-year-old, heavily linked with a move to Championship rivals Middlesbrough, shrugged off the conjecture to score his 15th and 16th league goals of the season with two sublime finishes at The Valley.
Rhodes gave his side a 15thminute lead when the hosts were caught out by Ben Marshall’s quick throw before Craig Conway doubled their advantage moments later with a low strike following Roger Johnson’s error.
The Addicks replied after the interval through Yoni Buyens’ penalty after Blackburn keeper Jason Steele fouled Igor Vetokele, only for another lax piece of defend- ing to hand Rhodes his second.
Rovers have now lost only one of their last ten games in all competitions and Bowyer believes his side are drawing strength from both their FA Cup run and the conjecture surrounding Rhodes.
“We were terrific,” said Bowyer. “We started well with two fantastic finishes that came from our pressing, which was unbelievable at times, we really put Charlton under pressure.
“Why would we loan Rhodes? It’s boring really, but I thought Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka was outstanding in the way he didn’t want to speak about one of our players during the week.
“Jordan’s great at handling the speculation – I love when there is speculation about him because he goes and scores more goals. If anybody else wants to ring up and get linked with him, then please feel free to do so.
“The Cup run has helped us as the players are playing with a lot of confidence but we’ve got to recover quickly now for Tuesday.”
After a balanced opening 15 minutes, Charlton were caught out as Marshall delivered a quickly-taken throw into the path of Rhodes, who held off Tal Ben Haim to finish off the far post.
The Addicks were left reeling just three minutes later as Johnson failed to control a loose ball, allowing Conway to steal in and slide a precise effort home.
Yet the hosts responded through the guile of Vetokele, who clipped the top of the bar from a tight angle.
Charlton continued their resurgence after the interval, with their endeavour rewarded as Steele felled Vetokele and Buyens converted the resulting penalty.
But Blackburn grabbed a third when substitute Chris Taylor’s deflected shot looped into the air, with Rhodes ghosting in unmarked to finish with a deft close-range header.
Charlton boss Guy Luzon said: “We started the game well but then the personal mistakes for their goals broke our spirit a little bit for 15 minutes.
“In the second half we came back, scored and had some chances to equalise but then their third goal came from a deflection and the game is over.
“The problem here was that we played without aggression in defence and that was also reflected in our attack – we moved the ball but not quickly enough and we didn’t punish them.
“I didn’t need to say anything to Johnson at half-time after his mistake, but just to raise his head and continue.”
ALL RHODES LEAD TO VICTORY: Jordan Rhodes netted twice to guide Blackburn past Charlton at the Valley
his penalty ON THE SPOT: Buyens nets