Match Preview: Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park

Statistically, Blackburn have to beat us sooner or later but not many of the pundits think it will happen tomorrow. I don't think they will either and neither do the bookmakers.

Sorry Blackburn have only picked up four points from five matches and currently sit third from bottom. It isn't that they don't have decent players or a half decent manager, it's that they need to get relegated, they need a reality check and they need Fat Sam to get his house in order.

Blackburn will be, if Fat Sam stays, the new Bolton and unfortunately for them, they'll never again visit the heights of winning the Premier League, as they did in 1995 as the first club to buy it.

The thing with Blackburn is, it's harder for them than it is for us both locally and internationally. If there is a good young prospect locally then he has the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton and dare I say it, Bolton, that might be in with a better chance of getting the player.

Internationally they have to work harder to find better prospects and they have to be fairly certain that the player they are bringing in is going to do the business, but when he does, as we've seen, he will be lured by one of the above bigger clubs or someone else. It can't be easy.

But like I've said, they have to beat us eventually but after three straight wins at Ewood Park, you have to fancy it is a place Martin O'Neill likes to visit and you have to fancy with possibly our strongest side since Martin O'Neill arrived, we will do it again.

The thing is, while I've said the bookmakers fancy us to win, they've also given us very good odds. At Paddypower right now you can get 7/4 on us winning. This is a very good price for us and one I've just put my remaining £17.50 on.

Early Team News

Heskey and Young should both be available for the match tomorrow after missing the Carling Cup game earlier this week and I think it fair to assume that there will be a few changes from the team that started and finished that match.

It is also not wise to think you know how Martin O'Neill is going to approach this game in terms of formation. It is fair to think that Blackburn will line up in a 442 but I wouldn't be surprised to see them line up in a 451 and if they do, then our midfield is either going to have to match that or have their game of the season.

Probable starting eleven: Friedel, Cueller, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Milner, Petrov, Sidwell, Young, Gabby and Carew. If it were me, I'd swap Carew for Reo-Coker, but that is just me and I'm a cautious bloke by nature.


It isn't difficult for me to predict an away win, but it is difficult to know what team is going to show up tomorrow. We have been lucky so far this season, but we have also won and dug in when needed. There is going to come a match soon where it clicks and the opposition get a battering, but I just can't see it tomorrow, but I also cant see Dunne and Collins having too much to deal with although I do expect them to be busy clearing lots of long balls.

If I had to predict a result, I'd say 2-0 to us, only because we have goals and we have a very solid defence, but Blackburn will fight, as all teams managed by Fat Sam do.