alex smithies saw enough in training of Jordan Rhodes to know what a danger the former Huddersfield Town striker will provide today.
The 24-year-old, an £8m departure when he left West Yorkshire in August, 2012, will lead Blackburn Rovers’ front-line as the Lancashire club look to end a three-game losing run.
Perhaps inevitably, Rhodes netted in both games against the Terriers last season. Smithies was on duty each time, as he was earlier this season when the two clubs fought out a goalless draw at Ewood Park in September.
The Town goalkeeper said: “You always expect him to hit the target and even if I saved the first one he would always be there for the rebound. He is very accurate and he always works you.
“I enjoyed training with him and he brought the best out of me.
“He has been a little quiet of late, but I suppose that only shows that he is human.
“Jordan doesn’t need a lot of chances to score; you have to be on your guard to keep him quiet.
“We are both extremely competitive and I won’t be giving him an easy ride. I know his game well, so hopefully that will work in my favour.”
Town go into today’s contest having finally ended the run of win one, lose one that had begun at the start of February.
A goalless draw at Charlton Athletic on Wednesday night broke the cycle and manager Mark Robins is looking for his side to cast off their inconsistency and build on such a solid display.
He said: “On reflection I was content with a point at Charlton. It wasn’t a great game, but it was a tough environment to play football in. It was a scrappy affair, but the lads did well and were up for the game.”
On today’s visitors, Robins added: “Blackburn is a different club compared to us. They were recently in the Premier League and, after being relegated, Gary Bowyer has come in and steadied the ship.
“He has brought his own players in, ones that he knew well, and he has developed a good squad. They have got a host of wingers and attackers and have a decent blend of players.
“They are on the back of a three-game losing streak though, and they will want to stop that. It has been a tough week for them, but they have a strong squad.
“Gary has done well, galvanised them and got them into a mid-table position, not too far off the play-offs.”