Date:Friday March 16 2007
Saturday 17th March 2007
Rovers welcome Lucas Neill back to Ewood on Saturday evening along with his relegation threatened West Ham United (aka the Hammered) team mates.
With Rovers very much on the up, and after the joy of last weekend booking a place in the last four of the FA Cup confidence is high. The Hammered on the other hand suffered the heartbreak on squandering a two goal lead, getting back to 3-2 up with less than ten minutes to go to still lose 4-3 to Tottenham Hotspur in their last Premiership match, so they are at an all time low.
Mark Hughes on the Hammered and our record against the bottom three:
"West Ham have got an attacking threat with plenty of guys of individual ability who can change games just by what they are able to produce themselves. So, even if the team isn't functioning as they'd like they always have individuals capable of creating something.
"Our poor record against the bottom three is a frustration of our, so it is a case now of putting that record straight. The first one we've got of that three is West Ham at the weekend and we need to address that. Who knows where we would have been if we could have picked up points against the lower teams?"
Alan Curbishley on the Tottenham defeat and looking head to Rovers:
"Spurs were on top of their game when they came to Upton Park and I think Blackburn will be too.
"The effort and improvement against Spurs as opposed to the Charlton game, we need to carry that on.
"We are in a position where we need to get some wins so we are going to go up to Blackburn feeling positive."
After coming off at half time during our FA Cup victory over Manchester City Ryan Nelsen is doubtful with a hamstring injury. Zurab Khizinashvili came on to replace the Admiral and did a good job alongside Christopher Samba so is likely to step in alongside the Wall again, although Stephane Henchoz comes into the equation after injury. After his sending off last week Aaron Mokoena is suspended but David Dunn returns from a suspension of his own. Shabani Nonda is also back after missing the last two games with a groin problem.
Rovers from - Friedel, Emerton, Samba, Nelsen, Warnock, Bentley, Tugay, Dunn, Pedersen, McCarthy, Derbyshire, Brown, Enckelman, Khizanishvili, Henchoz, Berner, Gallagher, Peter, Roberts, Nonda.
Benni McGoalmachine is always a constant threat and given chances he will score and he, along with Matt Derbyshire (his likely partner) will get plenty here you feel. But for me the man to watch will be the man who replaced Lucas Neill, Stevie Warnock. The youngster has come in and looked the part at left-back; he'll be looking to show the Australian how it's done.
Suspension had ruled out Nigel Reo-Coker but their captain is back so should return and regain the armband from Lucas Neill who captained the side in his absence. Welsh International James Collins is fit so will boost the backline in Matthew Upson's absence.
the Hammered from - Green, Neill, Konchesky, Davenport, Ferdinand, Collins, Bowyer, Noble, Quashie, Reo-Coker, Etherington, Tevez, Harewood, Kepa, Zamora, Spector, Walker.
In his first return to Ewood since his January departure all eyes will be on Lucas Neill. He'll be looking to put in a good performance but from what I've seen since he's left he hasn't offered a great deal although to be fair injuries have hampered him.
Rovers are unbeaten in six matches in all competitions. We've won four and drawn two League and Cup matches since losing 3-2 away to Bayer Leverkusen on 14th February 2007.
We've won three of our last four Premiership matches, including the last two.
Rovers have a record of 40 wins out of 100 top flight games under Mark Hughes.
We've only conceded one goal in six home and away in all competitions, and kept clean sheets in the last four home matches.
The Hammered have lost their last 5, and are without a victory in their last 11 matches. This represents their worst Premiership run.
Their 19 defeats are the most for any side in the Premiership.
With just 2 wins from the last 17 League and Cup matches, gaining only three points from the last 33 possible it is easy to see why they are bottom.
Alan Curbishley was seen as a saviour when he arrived but they've won just two of his 14 League and Cup matches.
Only three points have been gained from 14 away games this season (three draws). They haven't won away since they beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 on 1st May 2006.
Previous League Meetings
Blackburn 42 wins, the Hammered 34 wins, 11 draws
Premiership - Blackburn 8 wins, the Hammered 9 wins, 2 draws
Previous League Meetings At Ewood Park
Blackburn 28 wins, the Hammered 10 wins, 5 draws
Premiership - Blackburn 7 wins, the Hammered 1 win, 1 draw
Mr Howard Webb
Confidence often plays a major role in deciding the outcome of matches; obviously you need the quality, ability and a slice of luck but confidence helps and this will be at completely opposite ends of the scale for both. Relegation is an almost certainty for the Hammered, victory for a Rovers side pushing hard for Europe will all but confirm this. We don't have the best of records against the struggling sides and sides we should beat but I have confidence we'll break this and run out comfortable winners 3-1, maybe more, avenging our 2-1 defeat earlier in the season.
The small matter of the trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United!
Date:Friday March 16 2007
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