JORDAN RHODES has already eclipsed his expectations for the season. In a year of almost unremitting gloom at Blackburn, Rhodes has been the one shining light for Rovers.
His equaliser against Blackpool on Friday was his 22nd goal for the team he joined in August for a club record £8 million.
Add in the two he got before leaving Huddersfield and Rhodes is up to third in the list of Championship top scorers.
He still has eight games to go, too. And he needs to keep finding the net if Rovers are not to get sucked into a relegation scrap, just a year after exiting the Premier League.
“I have been delighted with my goals return this year,” said the Scotland international. “My aim was a goal every two games and I have already surpassed that.
“Strikers love scoring goals and it is fantastic to be on 24 goals with eight games remaining. Now I just want to remain upbeat, keep a smile on my face and get on with things.”
When he moved to Ewood Park following his record-breaking year in League One at Huddersfield, Rhodes, above, expected to join a squad determined to reclaim their top-flight berth. Instead, Rovers’ season has spiralled out of control.
Two managers have been sacked after barely getting their feet under the table, with Steve Kean having exited before them.
Eric Black’s temporary spell in charge almost extended to the same time as one of his permanent successors.
Now Gary Bowyer has been installed until the end of the season.
“We cannot let all the stuff that happens off the field concern us,” said Rhodes. “We have a duty to remain loyal to the people who have been working with you all season on the training pitch.
“We come into work every day and see the receptionist or the physios or the kitmen. We have to give our best for them.”
Rhodes remains optimistic, and not even tomorrow’s trip to champions-elect Cardiff is going to change that.
“Cardiff are the league leaders and they are flying high,” said Rhodes. “But we have been to Arsenal this season and got a result there so there is no reason why we can’t go there, put our best foot forward and get something from the game.”