Rovers .v. Charlton
28th April 2007
It`s a big weekend for both clubs, although little will be made of Rovers dreams. This is undoubtedly a massive game for Charlton as they will view this as one of those winnable games, just as Fulham did, and therein lays the danger.
Rovers are still in with a chance of qualifying for Europe, an outside chance, but a chance nevertheless and for that reason they are fighting right until the last kick.
The response from the lads ever since the semi final disappointment has been nothing short of impressive. They have approached both games since with determination and aggression and that has seen them beat Watford and unluckily only draw with Fulham.
Saturday both sides will up for it with Charlton bringing an army of support to aid their bid to restore top flight football and Rovers loyal bandwagon chanting them onto another three points.
David Bentley will once again be a key player and after his solid performance on A Question of Sport this week Rovers will be hoping he and the rest of the squad have all the right answers to the questions posed by Charlton!
Blackburn boss Mark Hughes: 'We've not had the best of form against the bottom teams and want to address that. It is a key game for both clubs, they will bring a huge following but ours will be four times bigger and we need to make sure we get the points.
'It is not a case of us taking our eye off the ball. We still feel like we have got something to play for. But we are not looking to do anybody any favours apart from ourselves.'
Charlton boss Alan Pardew: 'We have just got to put in the best performance that we possibly can for the effort put in by the fans. We can ask for no more from the fans. It is now down to the team to deliver.
'There is no point in hiding from the fact that every game is must win and we must approach them that way.'
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Mark Hughes is likely to start with the same side for the fourth game in a row which means that JR will be able to partner Benni McCarthy with Matt Derbyshire on the bench once more.
Tugay could possibly come in but it is unlikely.
Rovers from: Friedel, Emerton, Nelsen, Samba, Warnock, Bentley, Dunn, Mokoena, Pedersen, Roberts, McCarthy, Enckelman, Tugay, Henchoz, Derbyshire, Peter, Khizanishvili, Gallagher, Berner, Todd.
Player to watch: Benni
Benni keeps scoring and he will be looking to add to the 21 goals in every game left. There is an outside chance he could make 20 league goals but it would require a goal in each of the last four games and perhaps a special performance.
Well if that performance is going to come against anyone, Charlton is perhaps the best option. Only once has the goal machine scored a brace this season (excluding the game against Reading) and it is about time he really put a team to the sword and scored a hatful.
I feel this could happen today.
Charlton Athletic Team News:
Both Marcus Bent and Ben Thatcher are pushing for a recall to the first team squad following niggling injuries.
Bent in particular will be keen to start as Rovers are one of his many former clubs.
Obviously Darren Bent will continue in attack but it remains to be seen whether or not Alan Pardew keeps pace with the attacking formation of the last match.
Charlton from: Carson, Young, El Karkouri, Diawara, Thatcher, Zheng Zhi, Song, Ambrose, Rommedahl, D Bent, Thomas, Randolph, Hasselbaink, Holland, Bougherra, Hreidarsson, M Bent, Faye.
Player to watch: Marcus Bent
Darren Bent is the obvious choice simply because of his obvious talent and goal-scoring threat. Added to this fact it has been a while since he registered a goal and it equals one dangerous front-man.
It is going to be a case of battle of the front-men at Ewood. But the real threat comes from a former Rover, if he is fit to play. Marcus will pose the greatest threat to the Rovers defence I feel.
Match Facts & Stats
Despite Rovers good recent displays they have only won once in the last six games.
Saturday could mark the 50th appearance for Aaron Mokoena in a Rovers shirt. He has been patient and recently should just how valuable a squad player he is.
Another player in line for fifty is Stephen Warnock. The left-back, if selected, will be making his 50th appearance in the Premier League for both Rovers and former club Liverpool.
Charlton forward, Marcus Bent is a single goal away from 100 career goals.
If he participates, MARCUS BENT will be facing yet another former club. He spent a season at Ewood Park from November 2000, making 44 appearances (37 in the Premiership) and scoring 11 goals (eight in the League) for Rovers.
Mike Dean is the man in the middle. Twice before he has refereed a Rovers game and both times those games have turned the season. Lets hope it turns it back in our favour on Saturday.
I fancy this to be an open game with plenty of goals. Just as last week`s match against Fulham was entertaining, as will this encounter. The important ingredient here is that Rovers still have something to play for which means that aggression and fight spurs them on and it will be enough for victory on Saturday. The performance against Fulham was only lacking luck and I feel Rovers willl take their chances today and claim a 4-2 win.
A trip to Geordie land lays in waiting for Rovers next.