|Appleton relieved of his duties
Revealing rumours have surfaced suggesting that Appleton was relieved of his duties when global adviser Shebby Singh's PA handed him a note informing him of his sacking.
|Global adviser and Malaysian pundit Shebby Singh
Recent league results may have been poor, but it is important to consider the circumstances Appleton was working under. He had to work not only with the boardroom political power struggles between Derek Shaw, Paul Agnew and Shebby Singh, but also the accumulation of an extensive injury list in the squad left him with a lack of resources to work with.
This resulted in signing a number of players on emergency loan such as Wigan's Dave Jones, Chelsea's Todd Kane (who had already played for Rovers on loan until February) and Hull City's Cameron Stewart.
The club is in dire need of stability as a relegation battle turns to Gary Bowyer's hands. Bowyer achieved a four game unbeaten run when he became interim manager following the sacking of former Rovers captain Henning Berg. Berg's managerial reign was also short lived and was sacked after just 57 days.
Gary Bowyer motivated the players earlier this season, and Kazim-Richards (currently injured) said playing under Bowyer was "refreshing."
The problem on the field at the moment is the distinct lack of quality football. Under Steve Kean the players lacked ambition, motivation and determination. Appleton has instilled these three attributes back into the club and whilst motivationally the players have improved there is still a lack of cohesion in the squad.
High ball's have been common recently matches have contained a lot of 'hoofing' to eight million pound, ex Huddersfield and Scottish International striker Jordan Rhodes. Tactically, Appleton has been one dimensional particularly in the two Milwall quarter final FA cup games (which saw Rovers dreams of Wembley shatter as Shittu scored the only goal for Milwall in the replay.)
Irrespective of Appy's tactics, the general consensus among fans is that the man needed time. It was believed he needed the Summer in order to rebuild the squad containing 'Steve Kean buy's.'
Arguably though, the appointment of Michael Appleton should be questioned more than the sacking, it was the works of Shaw and Agnew that saw ex Pompey man take the job. Appleton left Blackpool with only two wins in 12, leaving alarm bells ringing in the minds of many fans. Although his previous record was not commendable, he had experience in working with struggling clubs and so the fans got behind him.
There is a complete lack of communication within the club as of late, with Shebby Singh sitting in different areas of the stadium to Shaw and Agnew on match days. The lack of a relationship between the three men is a major problem for the club as a clear divide is in place where the concern of each man is his position in the club, rather than what is best for the club.
It is difficult to predict at this point in time how the sacking will affect the squad and the rest of the season. It could allow Bowyer to come in and achieve a string of results allowing Rovers to keep their place in the second tier of English football. On the other hand, it may prove a detrimental decision which could thrust Rovers deeper into the abyss of relegation leaving them to spiral down into League 1.
It has been confirmed that Bowyer will remain in charge for the last section of the season. Given his previous form for the team it may not be a bad decision, however if Bowyer is unable to get the results necessary, the club could be in even bigger trouble.
|Bowyer returns as interim manager with a potentially more permanent twist...