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Hot off the Press: Blackburn Rovers

With Rich Sharpe of the Lancashire Telegraph

24 August 2018

With six points on the board from the first four league games of the season, Tony Mowbray couldn’t have asked for a much better return to the second tier, could he?

Rovers were draw specialists in Mowbray’s 15 games as a manager before relegation in 2016/17 and that has been the case on their return after promotion. It was certainly two points dropped on the opening day against Ipswich, conceding something of a freak last-minute goal, but they will view the one against Reading on Wednesday as a point gained after being 2-0 behind at half-time.

 The squad could do with more attacking options if they are to break into the top half, but it currently looks competitive enough for a mid-table finish.


Rovers kept two clean sheets in those games. Do they pride themselves on having a resolute defence, having conceded the third-least goals in League One last season?

Mowbray likes his team to play on the front foot, but with organisation behind the ball. They were excellent against Hull and deservedly won, and kept a clean sheet, though Millwall hit the post twice in the first half of the 0-0 draw the previous week, while two defensive lapses cost them against Reading.

 Any team prides themselves on clean sheets, but with Rovers it’s more down to being organised than any particular game plan to keep clean sheets.


The club signed Adam Armstrong permanently in the summer. Given his success on loan from Newcastle United last year, how important a part is he expected to play this season?

At £1.75m he looks a bargain. He’s a doubt for the weekend though after limping off with an ankle injury in the draw with Reading, which would be a blow as they are short of options in attack.

 He scored nine times in 17 starts while on loan last season and Mowbray seems to bring the best out of him having worked together at Coventry in 2015/16. With a regular run of games, you’d certainly back him to reach double figures this season.


What’s the latest news with Rovers’ deal to bring Ben Brereton in from Nottingham Forest?

It’s a complex one given it would have to be a loan to buy deal now. They are trying, but it’s not proving easy.


Which player should Brentford keep an eye on this Saturday?

If Bradley Dack is fit, then he’d certainly be one to watch. He has four in four this season and brings that link between midfield and attack. He picks up excellent positions in the pockets of space and is also looking to get in the box and score goals. But added to that, he works extremely hard for the team.


How are Blackburn likely to set up at Ewood Park?

He moved away from it on Wednesday, because of Dack’s injury, but Mowbray has preferred a 4-2-3-1 formation from September of last year when their form turned around. Danny Graham is usually the focal point in attack, with Dack playing just in behind. The wingers are given licence to roam around and join in the play, while the two central midfielders sit deeper in front of the back four.


What’s your score prediction for the game?

There were goals in both meetings between the two sides in the last season they played in the same division, and I can see the same again. An entertaining 2-2 draw.


Tickets for Saturday's trip to Ewood Park go off sale at 2pm today. Get your tickets to help Dean and the boys maintain our unbeaten start.  

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