I have had admiration in the past of the players that Blackburn have had. The goalscoring abilities of Alan Shearer and down the line Andy Cole; some excellent goalkeepers like Tim Flowers and Brad Friedel, some decent defenders in Marcus Olsson, Colin Hendry and Graham Le Saux and some fantastic midfielders such as Tim Sherwood, the Norwegian wonder Morten Gamst Pedersen and the Turkish delight Tugay just to name a few.
Primarily the money we get in the first season will be enough just to get a few players in if we need to. The quicker we get to the Premier League; the better we can get a decent transfer budget to survive. The squad that Rovers have is a decent one and one that could possibly challenge for the Playoffs if the start of the season goes well.
Two solid keepers and a definite number one in David Raya. This will be a challenge to keep a hold of such a talented goalkeeper. Jayson Leutwiler is a decent backup goalkeeper should Raya gets injured which I hope he doesn’t
The Right Backs
Now, this is where I feel like the weaknesses lie. With only Nyambe as the only natural right back and Elliot Bennett (who would primarily play as a winger) injured and Lewis Travis who will primarily play as a CM; some of the budgets will be used to get a right back. Looking for some with Championship experience would be key here and someone who could do a job in the Premier League would be beneficial but someone who could also compete with Nyambe in the right defensive position.
The Centre Backs
This is a stacked position. Lenihan and Mulgrew will definitely be the first choice pairing. This will be the first time that my set-piece taker will be a centre back as Charlie Mulgrew has 18’s in Free Kick Taking, Corners and Penalty Taking; so could he be my top goalscorer
The Left Backs
Again this is another position we are light in as only Amar’i Bell is the only natural left back we have so maybe a loan option would be beneficial here. Derrick Williams might be able to do a job down the left, but I see him as a back up to Mulgrew and Lenihan.
Down the Middle of Midfield
We have an abundance of players that can play down the middle of the midfield arraying from good DM’s, some great CM’s and potential AMC’s. However, we have a bit of an injury crisis. 5 players out with big injuries and one of those is practically out for the season as Ben Gladwin is out for 8-9 months. 4 of them can play out wide but due to those injuries; I have to resort to a much narrow formation. Bradley Dack is the pick of the bunch with two potentially talented players in Lewis Travis and Harry Chapman. There is also Craig Conway but he will not be included until the injury problems have disappeared.
Brereton and Armstrong are our best natural strikers as Bradley Dack can put in a shift there if needed. We have decent backups in Samuel and FM legend Danny Graham. Nuttall will be sold at the earliest convenience as I deem him surplus to requirements.
So having a look at the squad; apart from the major injuries; we have quite a good squad that can challenge potentially for a Playoff spot but realistically finishing top half will be enough for this season. But the areas we really need to improve is down the left and right side of defence as there isn’t enough backup cover.
To be fair to the Venky’s owners; we got a decent budget to play with having £6million to play with and I feel with £6million; I could find two decent full backs that can make that challenge easier.
Ashley Richards – Cardiff: £2.3million
Now, this seems like an expensive transfer to make for a full back of this quality; but I feel that he has loads of experience in the Championship and works hard enough to bomb up the field when needed to and to come back and defend when the opposition is on the ball. So hopefully this won’t be a flop of a transfer and can challenge Nyambe for the RB spot. Probably more defensive minded than the left back I decided to bring in.
Jeffrey Schlupp – Crystal Palace: Loan
I am happy to have this man as my left back; absolutely rapid and probably could instigate a quick counter-attack. He can also do a job as a left winger but having no-one fit that can play on the right; for the start of the season; he will be my left back.
We brought in Galloway on loan to provide backup to Lenihan and Mulgrew. Also, my HoYD decided to bring in Tony Sibbick from AFC Wimbledon for £215k for the future and I will put my trust in my HoYD and hopefully he will improve to be a decent right back in the future.
Adjusting the wage budget to stop the over-commitment of wages; I still have £1.7million to get someone in January if needed. So the team is now complete in my eyes; so now it’s time to pick a tactic to get the season up and running.
Next Update: The tactic in question and how the pre-season went on