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Behind Enemy Lines | Blackburn Rovers

The Lions revisit Ewood Park...

7 March 2022

Rich Sharpe, reporter for the Lancashire Telegraph, gives us an insight into Blackburn Rovers ahead of our rescheduled Championship fixture...

35 games into the season, Rovers sit fourth in the League table, but with just one win in their last seven League outings, Blackburn need to return to winning ways.

“If you offered their current position at the start of the season, they would of snapped your hand off. It all depends on how you judge them, do you look at the season as a whole or the last couple of weeks? Recent results have been disappointing but they’re well ahead of where people thought they would be after 35 games. 

"Blackburn have had some difficult games as well. They’ve played most of the teams in the top half. They’re entering a period of three succsesive home games with 11 left to play and everyone is looking at it as an opportunity to put the foot to the floor and try and cement a top six place."

Tony Mowbray's team now have three matches at home, having played five of their last seven on the road.

“They did lose to Forest recently at Ewood Park, but other than that they’ve been fairly strong at home to be honest. After Millwall, Blackburn play Bristol City and Derby so they’ll be looking at this group of games as an opportunity to get back to winning ways. They have been strong in tight games at home. Their last three wins have been by one goal. They’re always in games and they very rarely get hammered. It’s just about those fine margins." 

A number of first-teamers will miss out on Tuesday night.

“Blackburn have multiple injury problems heading into this one. Brereton Diaz was never going to make this one. They will have to call up a couple of 23s to make up the bench. They’ve lost Ryan Nyambe who picked up a knee injury. He is the usual right-wing back and the lad who played there at the weekend also came off with a calf injury - that’s Dayo Zeefuik. 

"Ayala, Paveda, Dack, Edun and Markanday are all injured as well.

"Reda Khadra is another doubt, but Joe Rothwell could well return into the starting line-up. I expect they’ll be a couple of changes to the team that played Fulham at the weekend. This is an opportunity back at home. Goals have dried up - they’ve only scored three in their last 11, the positive being they’ve been fairly tight defensively, so they’ve been able to win 1-0. The key for Blackburn is scoring first. If they do they tend to win - they’ve won 11 in a row every time they’ve scored first. That’s pivotal for them. They’ve shown they can hold out if they get themselves in front."

With so many key players sidelined, a couple of young players have took their opportunity to stand out in recent weeks. 

“The attackers have been mixed around in recent weeks. Tyrhys Dolan has played as a false nine. The first time he played that position was against Millwall last March in the 2-0 win. He is a real live wire and has plenty of energy. Like most of the young attackers at the club, we're probably just looking for a little bit more end product. 

"It’s defensively where they excel and Scott Wharton is an academy graduate who is having a really good run. They’re probably the two players I’d pick out right now.” 

The match between these two earlier in the season finished 1-1 at The Den , and Sharpe expects another tight game in Lancashire. 

“I think it will be first goal wins. Millwall have scored a couple of goals from set-plays which is something that Rovers haven’t been great at. I really do think, given the form they’re in, that if Millwall can score first they’ll probably prove tough to break down. Equally, if Rovers can get ahead they've shown that they are tough to break through. I expect a 0-0 or a 1-0 either way.

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