Dack returns, Johnson leads: five things spotted in Blackburn Rovers’ training preparations


Morale is high in the Blackburn Rovers camp and it’s not just because Christmas is fast approaching.

Five successive victories, only one goal conceded in their last six matches and the team is only one point away from automatic promotion places as we enter the second half of the campaign; no wonder everyone is in such a good mood!

Whether or not the Boxing Day game against Hull City continues, preparations for the upcoming games have been excellent and the Rovers have been boosted by more returning faces with the squad looking increasingly healthy as they approach. of the new year * touches of wood *.

Here’s a look at the Rovers’ training this week.

Bradley and Joe return

You wait for players to come back from long term injuries and two come at a time!

If Bradley Dack’s beaming smile as he took part in a six-party rondo wasn’t enough to arouse your taste buds, watching Joe Rankin-Costello perform those lung sublayers was just as satisfying.

In the later stages of his rehabilitation, Dack has made good progress since sustaining a second ACL injury within 15 months in March, while Rankin-Costello’s return from a metatarsal fracture has been significantly delayed by further hamstring complications – although the 22-year-old is confident in conquering those demons from now on.

Dack is still a good few weeks away, but Rankin-Costello will be looking to build his body confidence with a view to being in contention in the near future and the impact the two have on the Rovers side cannot be underestimated.

The pair are struggling to make their way into the starting XI, but the presence of Dack and Rankin-Costello will only serve to intensify the competition and provide greater strength at depth.

I hate to use the cliché, but they’ll be like two new hires.

Ayala in a good mood

Rewind three months and the idea of ​​leaving Daniel Ayala on the bench would have been laughable given his formidable form early in the campaign.

The Spaniard has returned from injury to find three Rovers central defenses who excel, recording five straight clean sheets and doing so with such swagger and conviction that they could murder your dog and you will always applaud them for it.

And yet Ayala is not the type to throw her toys out of the stroller, a figure who is capricious after a stint on the substitute bench. His influence and experience remain essential to the success of the team and on the training ground he shows by encouraging the younger ones around him and generally being a positive personality during sessions.

In an age when you need everyone to be on the same page, Ayala is a magnet that ensures the team is shooting in the same direction.

Johnson leads

Like Ayala, Bradley Johnson finds himself taking on more of a matchday observer role given the form of the midfield trio, but the 34-year-old is helping to raise the standards at the coaching.

Play on the front foot, maintain the intensity and score weird goals here and there; Whether it’s 6v6 or 11v11, it’s Johnson who encourages, picks up the pace and helps the team get the most out of every session.

His experience is invaluable to such a young group and in return they certainly help keep Johnson on his toes.

Finishing course

With 10 goals between them in their last seven matches, Ben Brereton Diaz and Reda Khadra are in sensational form in front of goal.

This is the result of hours and hours of training, the extra sessions they’ve been involved in after training is over and it’s clearly paying off. Everything they seem to touch reverberates behind the net, even when Khadra uses her head on Brockhall courts!

Brereton turns out to be one of the more clinical people in the championship while Khadra enjoys taking a step and pulling a right-footed effort from a distance.

Confidence continues to flourish and you wouldn’t bet against them by increasing their tally before the end of the year.

Questionable headgear

The temperature has dropped significantly over the past week and with it we see who’s ready to brave the elements and who’s more inclined to add the layers.

Mowbray rocked the snood, Dack and Johnson pulled on the hats while Sam Gallagher pulled out a balaclava that likely won’t be on sale in the Rovers store anytime soon. His outfit managed to cover his forehead and mouth, unlike John Buckley’s!

And where the majority wore gloves, Scott Wharton left his hands bare. Solid as a rock, this man.

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