Should Blackburn Rovers cash in on Jordan Rhodes?

Blackburn Rovers Goal Celebrations

With intense speculation mounting over the future of the prolific hitman, several clubs are waiting to see how Rovers' season pans out before they pounce.

The omission of 13-goal Jordan Rhodes from Sunday's heroic goalless draw at Anfield in the FA Cup quarter-finals, has prompted fresh talk that the Scot has served his time at Ewood Park and will look for pastures new. 

Rovers manager Gary Bowyer was quick to dispel the rumours, telling BBC Sport that the use of Rudy Gestede as a lone front man at Anfield was purely tactical, and a more prudent approach that a deserved replay has justified. Given that Gestede has matched Rhodes goal-for-goal this season - also standing on 13 goals and from 25 starts to Rhodes' 30 - it would seem that the rumour mill maybe has its wires crossed on this occasion.

Talk that the likes of Nottingham Forest, Derby County, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday were looking to pounce, as suggested by the Derby Telegraph, potentially with a loan move, appears wide of the mark, although it is known that all four clubs are looking to strengthen in the striker department. But a loan move for Rhodes at this stage of the season wouldn't follow much logic for Blackburn.

The club remain under an FFP transfer embargo, which may see them look to lighten their wage bill in the short term via a loan move for Rhodes, but not with the club in with a chance of a Wembley appearance in the FA Cup. Rhodes also extended his contract last summer to 2019, and therefore holds plenty of value for the former Premier League champions should they choose to sell at the end of the season.

Bowyer used the 0-0 draw with Liverpool to question the rumours in the press this week, as quoted by the BBC: "If you look at our game plan and the way we went about it, we were never going to go to Anfield with two strikers...It's simple. We've got 11 league games left and a Cup quarter-final with a potential visit to Wembley.

"Why we would want to be letting any of our players go at this stage is beyond me."

That said, 25-year-old Rhodes is at the perfect age to look at testing himself in the Premier League, and so another season where Rovers have failed to truly threaten a play-off place in the Sky Bet Championship may tempt him to look elsewhere. Rhodes' record of 148 goals in 247 appearances - albeit all below Premier League level - is an eye-catching one, particularly at only 25, and how long a club like Blackburn can suppress his career ambitions is open to question.

For now, Bowyer is adamant that Rhodes will be back in the side for Wednesday night's visit of Bolton to Ewood Park, but there will be plenty of interested observers watching his and his team's progress over the remainder of the season.  

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