Blackburn Rovers striker Danny Graham hasn’t had his best goalscoring start to the Championship season, but Rovers manager Tony Mowbray has hailed the impact his experienced striker has on his side when speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph.
Danny Graham has made 15 appearances in all competitions this season, picking up four goals and two assists along the way. The striker’s current goal haul doesn’t look set to match the 17 goal tally the 33-year-old notched up last season, but has had a significant effect on the side – without contributing goals and assists.
The striker has been nursing a back issue for the past few games, managing an hour in Rovers’ last two games. The unavailability of Graham has meant that top scorer Bradley Dack has been playing in a centre forward role, with Ben Brereton and Adam Armstrong being used out wide. Dominic Samuel remains out for the season, leaving Tony Mowbray with few attacking options.
“It feels a little bit like that. We have had that conversation as a group,” Mowbray said when asked it felt like he was a man light in the striking department.
“As I’ve said, the team are really involved in this campaign, it’s not just me as a manager sitting here and picking the team, they understand my emotion, why I make changes, why I pick a team, why I do it. I want them to be part of the system and understand.
“It’s easy to sit back and say ‘Danny Graham came off at 1-0 (against Swansea) and we lost 3-1’, but he couldn’t have done anything about the shot from 25 yards (for Swansea’s equaliser).
“What Danny brings is an experience, a knowledge, an understanding of how to play that role.
“He has a football brain and if we’re getting to a point where the pressing stops because we need a breather, then someone’s voice has to say ‘let’s drop away a little bit, let’s stay compact’ and invariably Danny does.
“With respect to 19-year-old Ben Brereton he’s not going to go out there and start organising the first line of defence. At times, the experience is important, other times when I look at Danny at 60 minutes he can find it difficult to keep ploughing through at the intensity I’m asking the team to be playing at.
“There’s always a thought in my mind about the next game and fresh legs on the bench waiting to come on.
“Danny is fully understanding of the process, he’s past the point of sulking or not understanding, he understands the reasons why on some days he will have to sit on the bench and other days he will play the full 90 minutes with a good recovery period to the next game.
“He’s an important player for us on the pitch in terms of his goals, holding the ball up and keep it in their final third but also his understanding of the game. Danny vocally can get that across to them.”