Big Dunc’s verdict – Jacob’s Cracker and Blackburn (a)

07/08/16

By Duncan Edwards First day of the season, away from home; recent history suggested this would be a long old poke that would end up with a point at best. However, this was a strange day. Firstly, the weather was glorious in the traditionally grim North. The allocated away supporters pub, the Golden Cup, was […]

By Duncan Edwards

First day of the season, away from home; recent history suggested this would be a long old poke that would end up with a point at best.

However, this was a strange day. Firstly, the weather was glorious in the traditionally grim North. The allocated away supporters pub, the Golden Cup, was plenty hospitable enough if a little unprepared for the influx of yellow and green; "We weren't expecting this many.." said a bewildered landlady. Secondly, there was an air of confidence about the fans. Despite misgivings due to our horrendous opening day record, I'd gone as far as to predict a 3-1 victory and a "statement performance".

Ok, I got the score wrong but I was bang on with regard to the performance.

This wasn't a gulf in class, this was a "Grand Canyon and a half" sized chasm. City were simply exemplary at times. Ok, the inclusion of Jacob Murphy seemed a bit leftfield while we were sat in the pub but when he displayed the strength to hold off his man, get the ball out of his feet and let fly with an absolute snorter to give us the lead, leftfield it seemed no more.

It's early to make assumptions but in that one moment Jacob has perhaps helped answer the question of what we gain from the loan system. That season at Coventry in League One has helped him grow as a player and we reaped some immediate benefit yesterday. Interesting that he also got the nod over Josh. Before their season long loans, I'd have said Josh was definitely ahead, perhaps that's not the case now. Of course, I'm probably falling into the trap of treating them as identical players because they're twins.

I'm sure they have very different qualities, another day Josh might have been the chosen option. The positive is that it's clear Alex Neil isn't scared to play them.

Wes and Naismith were untouchable, Blackburn completely unable to cope with the little movements and fast intricate passing. They both scored too. It's hard to fathom that Wes could actually be improving as he approaches his testimonial but he's currently scoring for fun. If he's finally found the last piece of his enigmatic jigsaw, there won't be a more valuable player in the Championship this season.

There were other positives too. Cameron Jerome ran the Rovers defence ragged, scored his goal and showed what a good player is at this level.

Bennett got the nod over Bassong and made one excellent clearing header, the niggling worry remains that we'll retain that brittleness at the back though. Rovers' goal did little to quell that as Whittaker was beaten all too easily, we were caught beneath the cross and then there was the suspicion that Ruddy could have done better too.

Still, winning 4-1 is what counts and on the face of it, it looks like we have thrown down a statement of intent.

Let's not get carried away though, Blackburn are a poor, poor side. Yes, we still have to make them look that bad but while this is a great result, it shouldn't fool us into thinking it's straightforward from here.

The hard truth is that we still need a striker, probably two, to provide support, competition and at times replace Cameron Jerome.

We're told the money is there, we need to make it count. January is a long way off and the way things sit right now, we're one injury from seeing our season scuppered.

If the board were waiting for the team to show them that they warrant that investment, they couldn't have done more than they did at Ewood Park yesterday.

OTBC

Follow Duncan on Twitter @duncanedwards8

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