(Photo: Action Images)
By Ben Baker
SAM Gallagher could well be enjoying life in the Premier League next season, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care what happens to Blackburn at the end of this campaign.
Rovers took a loan punt on the Southampton striker last summer, and he repaid them with 11 goals by the beginning of February.
The well has dried up since, but it hasn’t been for the want of trying, with Gallagher working hard to keep Blackburn from slipping into the third tier for the first time since 1979.
“While it has been a tough and disappointing season for Blackburn, I have still really been enjoying myself,” said the 21-year-old, who has a contract at Southampton until the summer of 2018.
“And while I am only on loan until the end of the season, I feel so much loyalty to the club and am fighting just as much as the boys who are there permanently.
“Blackburn gave me the opportunity this season to show what I can do in the Championship after a tough time with injury and I am grateful for that.
“We have been unlucky at times and I want to do my best between now and the end of the season to keep Blackburn in the Championship.”
The man who brought Gallagher to Ewood Park, Owen Coyle, was certainly a big fan, admitting that he ‘would love to’ buy the on-loan striker who he felt was ‘going to be a bona fide Premier League player’.
But in February, Coyle was axed and 24 hours later Tony Mowbray was given the wheel of a sinking ship.
Heading into the Easter weekend, Gallagher had failed to find the net under former Coventry boss Mowbray but the striker – who has featured for England Under-20s – has confidence in the latest man in charge.
“Owen Coyle was good for me personally and for a lot of the boys,” added Gallagher, who on Monday gave Oswaldtwistle St Mary’s FC under-13s a tour of Blackburn’s training ground as part of Wickes’ Kits for Kids campaign.
“He gave me confidence, helped me out a lot and put a lot of trust in me to play so many games following a tricky time.
“It is always hard when clubs make changes but we adapted well and took on board what the new gaffer wanted – and we got good results.
“We started well and it was a shame that we couldn’t keep our unbeaten run going (Blackburn were undefeated in Mowbray’s first seven matches) but we have some big games coming up to set that right and we will keep working hard.”