Sleepless night for Bolton boss Lennon

Bolton boss Neil Lennon
Bolton boss Neil Lennon
Share this article

Gary Bowyer once again stressed that Jordan Rhodes was going nowhere on the night his stoppage-time winner secured a dramatic 1-0 derby victory for Blackburn over Bolton.

Rhodes’ future remains the subject of much debate around east Lancashire, with Middlesbrough seemingly confident they can pull off a coup by loaning the 25-year-old for the remainder of the season ahead of a multi-million pound deal in the summer.

However, Bowyer kept his pre-match promise of starting the striker and after squandering the best chance of the contest with a header saved on the line 79 minutes in, he popped up to prod home in the fourth minute of stoppage time to leave his side 11 points off the play-off spots with 10 games to go.

It was another crucial contribution from 14-goal forward Rhodes and once again left Bowyer in no doubt his future remains with Rovers, whose position on his future remains strong despite their spiralling debt.

“If it was a maths equation question it just wouldn’t add up, would it,” said Bowyer.

“Why would you loan our top scorer out?

“He’s just scored the winner and will be starting at Charlton.”

Rhodes’ first goal of the season came against Bournemouth back in August just hours after Blackburn had turned down an eight-figure bid from Hull and Bowyer was confident his prized asset would once again pen the fitting script.

“He just handles the speculation enormously well,” he added.

“In the summer window he was supposed to be off and he scored against Bournemouth so I was quietly confident of him scoring tonight because that’s what he does when there’s all the paper talk.”

Asked about Middlesbrough’s hopes of prying Rhodes away to the north-east despite Rovers’ reluctance, Bowyer said: “I can’t answer on behalf of Middlesbrough, you’ll have to ask Middlesbrough that.”

For much of the contest, the two teams were evenly matched, with the game only opening up in the latter stages as both goalkeepers made a flurry of saves.

However, Bolton boss Neil Lennon was left to once again rue another late winner for the opposition having experienced a similarly sickening feeling against Wolves, Watford and Reading recently.

“It’s unacceptable,” the Northern Irishman fumed.

“That’s five games in the last month. It’s cost us seven points when we should be home and hosed so we still have a bit of work to do.”

Lennon believes the problem is a psychological one and admits they must nip the issue in the bud after leaving Ewood Park with nothing.

“I’m thinking surely not, surely we’re not going to concede,” he added.

“We would have gone away very happy with a point at a difficult venue. It’s going to be a sleepless night again.”