Blackburn Rovers were defeated just once in their first ten Sky Bet Championship games this season in what was a strong start on their return to the division, and come January they are just a handful of points off the Play-Off positions. Has this campaign panned out as you'd expected?
They had a tough Christmas period, playing the top four teams in the division back to back, which saw them suffer three successive defeats for only the second time under Tony Mowbray. But that has been the first real tough spell of what has been an impressive return to Championship football. They find themselves in a position they deserve to be, and one I feel they are capable of maintaining.
Prior to the return fixture, you predicted Rovers would be capable of a midtable finish this season. Do you now think they have what it takes to crack the top six?
I think they will fall short of the Play-Offs, but will be in the top half come May. They have dropped a few too many points from winning positions and at times struggled for goals.
Head Coach Tony Mowbray signed a new three-year deal in November and his side started 2019 with a bang, winning three league games on the spin. Would you say he's the project's keystone?
He has built a squad who believe in his methods and who are rarely found wanting for effort. Mowbray has also helped forge a bond between the supporters and the club once again, which had been missing for too long. Signing a new long-term deal was almost universally welcomed by the fanbase and he seems focused on building for the long term.
How are Blackburn likely to set up? Can you give us the latest on the injury front?
They have been almost exclusively 4-2-3-1 for the last two seasons. Mowbray’s go-to approach is to play with a target man, usually Danny Graham, with Bradley Dack tucked in behind and two wide players, one of which is usually what he refers to as a ‘wide striker’, a role predominately occupied by Adam Armstrong.
The injury situation is looking a lot healthier now than it was earlier in the month when Rovers were, at one time, without four senior central defenders.
Victory on Saturday would extend Mowbray's side's winning run at Griffin Park to three. What's your score prediction for the game?
Given Brentford’s upturn in form of late, I think Rovers will be happy with a point. I think there could be goals so I’ll go for a 2-2 draw.
For the full chat with Rich plus exclusive interviews with Daniel Bentley and Adam Newton, pick up a copy of BEES around Griffin Park on Saturday for just £3.50
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