Holtby set to boost Blackburn’s promotion chances
Blackburn Rovers have made a decent start this season, and they boosted their promotion chances by signing Lewis Holtby on Thursday.
After watching their team finish 15th in the Championship last year, Rovers fans will not have been expecting a promotion push this summer.
The Lancashire outfit ended the campaign a massive 20 points above the bottom three last season, but they were also 14 points behind the top six.
Tony Mowbray’s side struggled to kill teams off, and injuries derailed them, but Holty’s arrival is a big statement for the former Premier League champions.
Blackburn have refused to splash the cash in recent years, but Mowbray still managed to bring in seven new faces.
Sam Gallagher was their marquee signing, with Rovers paying £5million for his services from Southampton having enjoyed a successful loan in 2016-17.
Bradley Johnson and Stewart Downing joined on free transfers, while Tosin Adarabioyo, Christian Walton and Greg Cunningham were signed on temporary deals.
Defender Charlie Mulgrew returned from his loan spell at Wigan and Blackburn started the campaign with a solid squad.
They retained the services of star man Bradley Dack and the former Gillingham forward has made a strong start to the season, scoring two goals in his first seven appearances.
Twelve months ago, Blackburn were too reliant on Dack and striker Danny Graham, but Holtby’s arrival eases the pressure on both of them.
The playmaker has been looking for a new club since the end of last season after he decided to leave Hamburg.
Holtby turned 29 earlier this week, and he will provide a much-needed spark in the middle of midfield for Rovers.
He brings plenty of experience to Ewood Park, with spells at Schalke, VfL Bochum, Mainz, Tottenham and Fulham all on his CV.
Holtby has made three appearances for Germany but his international days are behind him, and Blackburn should reap the rewards this season.
A two-year-deal was agreed this week after and Mowbray admitted he was shocked the player was still available.
The former Middlesbrough coach has urged Holtby to boost the club’s promotion chances, and he now has a number of selection headaches in the middle of midfield.
Holtby’s decision to join Blackburn also sends a massive statement to the rest of the division. Quite simply, Rovers mean business this season and they are now set for a big few weeks. Reading, Luton Town, Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers and Huddersfield Town are all on the horizon, but Holtby will have to be patient.
Fitness may not be on his side at present, but he could be a key cog in the Blackburn team as they push for a top-six finish.
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