Two draws and a defeat isn’t the best start a new manager could make at a club, but in the case of Henning Berg and Rovers it’s not that big a surprise. A club stripped of any semblance of common sense over the past couple of years, the Rovers job was always going to be a difficult one for whoever took over. Berg probably learned a lot from his opening defeat at Crystal Palace, as the two subsequent performances against Huddersfield and Birmingham have been much improved. Rovers will need to quickly turn draws into wins but, to coin a popular phrase from the last two years, let’s concentrate on the positives.
Defensively things will surely improve with Berg in charge – winning the title with two different clubs as a player suggests he knows a thing or two about how it’s done. Orr’s been sent packing (best news of the sporting week) and Henley has stepped up impressively. Dann and Hanley still have a lot of convincing to do but, as Berg has shown with Orr, if they don’t then changes will be made. Further forward, Murphy finally looks like he’s remembered how to pass a ball, while the likes of Formica and Rochina have been given a platform to prove they’ve got what it takes to make an impact. On top of that you’ve got an £8 million centre-forward who, if he gets the service, will be worth every penny.
While there’s been a slight increase in crowds since you-know-who left, it’s safe to say not everyone’s returned. For some it may take longer, perhaps proper evidence of stability and support for Berg from Venky’s, but if that happens people will come – people will most definitely come (copyright Field of Dreams). Despite this, the atmosphere around Ewood is significantly better and the support at the away games has been tremendous.
Rovers’ trip to Peterborough provides an ideal opportunity for Berg to get his first win on the board, while also ensuring they stay in touch with the top two. With two homes games to follow, Rovers could enter December – which starts with a trip to face the country bumpkins down the M65 – handily placed to make a sustained bid for promotion. For the first time in a long while, things finally feel like they’re on the right track. Fingers crossed it continues.