Writer: Andrew Joyce
Date:Friday January 13 2012
After two great home victories, over Arsenal in the Premier League and Charlton Athletic in the FA Cup, followed by a creditable draw at Norwich, we head off to Ewood Park to take on struggling Blackburn Rovers this Saturday.
Blackburn, managed by the former Fulham coach, Steve Kean, are struggling this season and Kean finds himself under pressure from the home support. Could this be the ideal opportunity to get a vital away win under our belts and improve that appalling away record we always mention whenever we hit the road in the Premier League?
Also, there`s the added bonus of the possibility of a deal being done between the two clubs for a certain Andrew Johnson to add a little spice.
There`s been a lot of guff spoken about Mark Hughes this week, with the media latching on to his 'lack of ambition` quote as the reason why he left Craven Cottage last summer.
Therefore, as we head off to a former stomping ground of Hughes, Ewood Park, its interesting to see that Martin Jol has issued a response to the supposed remark with our Dutch gaffer commenting about a supposed lack of ambition around Craven Cottage,
"It is not always about money if you are talking about ambition. We are ambitious but he said Fulham was not. That`s his opinion."
"We played in a European final and that`s not easy to achieve."
Well said Martin, well said. Now let`s sure we get a result at Ewood Park shall we!
Steve Kean will be hoping that in order to stave off further pressure relating t his position that the influential Chris Samba will be back from injury.
The centre back who has been a target for several clubs as the transfer window opened, was absent last weekend with a hamstring problem.
Also hoping to return will be the influential trio of Paul Robinson, David Dunn and Junior Hoilett.
Fresh from a stunning hat-rick at Old Trafford, of all places, the bulky forward will be looking to keep his scoring momentum going against us. Hopefully Hangeland and Senderos can keep him nullified.
Martin Jol will take his squad north with David Stockdale still deputizing for the injured Mark Schwarzer and may we say he`s doing a fine job.
Also, Jol will be hoping that the Rovers transfer target, Andrew Johnson will be in contention although whether he plays could be debatable if a deal is in the making. Simon Davies is another who is hoping to get the nod after injury.
But, on the down side we`ll be without Dickson Etuhu and long-term injury concern Grygera.
Although Damien may be starting on the bench he`ll be hoping that he`ll see some action as he returns to the ground where it all started for him. We`re certain that if he does stand on the touchline waiting to be introduced, the home crowd will give him a wonderful reception.
If the record books are to be believed then Blackburn Rovers start this match as favourites.
Blackburn have only lost two of their last eleven games against us and are unbeaten in the last six, winning four and drawing two.
Incidentally, this fixture hasn`t produced a 0-0 since way back in 1983!
Blackburn away should be considered a difficult trip but in trying times, this season, Steve Kean`s side have operate din difficult circumstances with the home support visibly turning on the side if things don`t go their way early on. On the other hand, Rovers are back at Ewood Park on the back of a thrilling 3-2 win at Old Trafford last time out in the Premier League, so things may have eased off when it comes to the protestations. As we`re all perfectly aware, our away form is, to put it kindly, abysmal so I`m tempted to think the two scenarios sort of even themselves out, therefore, with it being what I believe to be a level playing field, I see no reason why we can`t get a result, with the minimum being a hard earned draw but also with the possibility of a win coming our way, albeit being a narrow one!
After the long trip to Ewood Park this weekend we return to the relative sanctuary of Craven Cottage next weekend when we welcome Newcastle United, managed by Alan Pardew.
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Date:Friday January 13 2012
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