Lee Bowyer: I owe them opportunities

The players since I have walked through the door have trained hard every day.

Lee Bowyer

Lee Bowyer is looking forward to giving his squad the opportunity to test themselves against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday lunchtime.

The trip to Ewood Park is the 46th and final game of the 2020/21 Sky Bet Championship season.

And after Blues secured their second-tier status last month, Bowyer is ready to use the clash to reward those who have contributed even when not selected.

Speaking to the media via Zoom from the Trillion Trophy Training Centre, the Head Coach explained his approach to the weekend's match in Lancashire.

He said: "It's the right thing to do and the respectful thing to do. The players since I have walked through the door have trained hard every day, today was no different they were excellent again in training.

"It is what I owe them to give them an opportunity for me to consider them again in the future."

Such chances will again be offered to Blues' bright youngsters, with the Boss responding to questions around Amari Miller and Ryan Stirk.

He told the press: "They will be in the squad and they did okay last week. It will be a good experience for them again this week."

Bowyer also provided an update on those players that will not be involved against Tony Mowbray's men, highlighting the importance for all the players and staff to recover both mentally and physically ahead of the next campaign.

The Gaffer said: "Neil Etheridge will be travelling but he won't be involved, Scott Hogan and Marc Roberts will be left behind. Neil has had a bit of a stomach problem, and he's got international duty all summer so he's not going to have any rest. There's no point taking any risks.

"Everyone needs a break mentally, to be around the family and see people. It will be difficult for everyone to go away in the summer unless that changes."

In his final pre-match press conference this term, Bowyer then took time to reflect on the work since his arrival in March.

The Head Coach has lost just twice in nine matches and an unbeaten April has seen him nominated for the Sky Bet Championship Manager of the Month Award.

Assessing the past weeks, he said: "[I am] really proud, this is one of the best moments for sure, to be able to turn it around in the short space of time that we did with two games to spare. I am so glad we are not involved in the problems that you are going to witness at the weekend.

"I am so grateful to everyone who has pulled together and managed to turn it around with the run-in that we had as well. It was tough. The players and staff bought into it and we managed to do it.

"It wasn't pretty at times and I accept that, but it doesn't matter when you are in that situation. The most important thing is winning enough games, getting points and we did that quickly. Fair play to everyone."