Caretaker manager Gary Bowyer praised Blackburn's players for putting Michael Appleton's shock sacking behind them to earn a battling 1-1 npower Championship draw with Blackpool.

Appleton, who cut short a similarly brief stint in charge of the Seasiders to take over at Ewood Park in January, was sacked 15 games and 67 days into his Rovers tenure last week. The 37-year-old's dismissal came two days after David Dunn's equaliser deep into stoppage time rescued a point against neighbours Burnley.

Top scorer Jordan Rhodes was Rovers' hero in this all-Lancashire clash - the Scotland international's 24th goal of the season and 22nd since arriving from Huddersfield in August ensuring both teams edged five points clear of the relegation zone after Gary MacKenzie gave Blackpool a 64th-minute lead.

The result meant Bowyer retained his unbeaten record in charge of Blackburn - he oversaw three wins and a draw in the four games between Henning Berg's and Appleton's troubled reigns at a club flailing under the whims of controversial owners Venky's - and he revealed his squad found this latest round of managerial upheaval hard to take.

"There's a lot of respect there for Michael Appleton and it was a decision that shocked the players," he said. "To their credit they got on with their work and had a right good go.

"I thought we started nervously which was to be expected a little bit with what's gone off at the football club, but once they settled down they showed a good composure to make some passes."

Blackpool boss Paul Ince could also curse his luck after Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean thwarted Tom Ince and substitute Nathan Delfouneso in the closing minutes, but the former Blackburn manager accepted a draw was a fair reflection on his return to Ewood Park and criticised his team for going into their shells after taking the lead.

"It's a fair result," he said. "The first half was poor really, the players got involved in the occasion rather than actually playing the game - it was all about headers and tackles and getting knockdowns.

"Second half they've had two good chances and Gary will be disappointed for one of them not to go in. Once we got the goal I was thinking we were going to go on and win it comfortably.

"Instead of staying on the front foot, which got us the goal in the first place, we started defending deeper and deeper."