After last seasons promotion campaign, Mowbray made it clear to the fans that an overhaul of the squad was not needed, despite going on to make eight summer signings.
The first of these was Joe Rothwell, who has arguably been our best player so far this season. The midfielder was approached by Rovers during the January transfer window but a deal could not be completed before the closing date. However, Mowbray didn’t give up and revisited the deal this summer to sign Rothwell for an undisclosed fee from League One outfit Oxford United.
From what we have seen from Rothwell this season, I believe there is plenty to be excited about. His awareness on the ball has been second to none for us and the only critic would be that he is yet to find the back of the net, despite being involved in the lead up to several goals. Another thing is his age, at only 23 he is yet to hit his prime and we look forward to what could be a special few years for his time at the club. A legend in the making? Only time will tell.
Shortly after the signing of Rothwell, We signed Manchester City youngster Jacob Davenport who has past championship experience. He made 17 appearances for Burton Albion last season and is only 19-years-old. We haven’t seen as much of Davenport as we would have liked this season, as he has been burdened by injury. This didn’t stop us from seeing flashes of what he was capable of during pre season though. A 19-year-old on a four-year deal hungry to prove himself, we may just have found ourselves a little hidden gem.
The third signing of the summer was Kasey Palmer, who arrived on a season long loan deal from Premier League giants Chelsea. Palmer has played the majority of our matches so far this season and bagged himself a few goals, including a peach of a free-kick in the Carabao Cup vs Lincoln City. His pace and awareness on the pitch certainly brings excitement to the team, some much needed in a league as competitive as the Championship.
Shortly after Palmer arrived, Adam Armstrong returned permanently after being on loan with us for the latter part of last season. His pace up front is a massive addition to the squad and whilst he has recently been injured, he made a good start to life back at Ewood Park by netting himself a couple of goals in the early stages of the season.
The fifth player through the door was Jack Rodwell, hoping to rescue his career after a few horrendous years at Sunderland. I have no complaints about any of the other signings, but this one does seem a little odd. It’s extremely low risk as he is being paid peanuts and only on a one-year-deal, but he goes straight to the bottom of the pile in the Rovers hierarchy and it is hard to see him getting much, if any, game time.
To make the signing of Rodwell even more confusing, we pushed him further down the pile by signing Southampton youngster Harrison Reed on a one-year-loan-deal. A player with plenty of flair and one Southampton fans were not happy to see leave their club, it seems as though it could be a very good signing if he is anywhere close to his performances for Norwich City last season.
He is yet to make an appearance as he is not yet 100% match fit, but when he is it will be interesting to see if he is able to force his way into the first team, probably in place of Richie Smallwood.
The seventh signing of the summer, and perhaps the most highly anticipated, was Ben Brereton on an initial loan deal from fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest. If we like what we see, their is an option to buy the striker in January for £7m, which is expected to happen. Brereton has everything we were looking for really, though his goal tally isn’t quite as high as we would have liked but then again, neither was Rudy Gestede’s until we got our hands on him. With our category one training facilities, I believe Brereton is an excellent addition to a Rovers team on the up.
Our final signing of the summer was another striker called Mitchel Candlin from Walsall’s youth ranks. A relatively unknown player who will almost certainly be playing his football for the U23s, at least for this season. With little knowledge of the 18-year-old, it is hard to know if he is a good or a bad signing. But with the players our youth academy has produced in the last few years, it is certainly worth giving him a shot.
With all these new signings, as well as the great bunch of lads we already have, it could well be said this this Summer has been a good one, and with many youngsters signing to the future of the club is certainly bright.