Blackburn are the division’s top scorers and sat 9th in the Sky Bet Championship table after 15 games, two points off the top six. What have you made of what you’ve seen so far?
They have been inconsistent in terms of results, but much of that can be attributed to the number of players they have had out at various stages - as many as 12 at times with injuries or Covid-related absences. They seem to have been affected by those more than most. When they’ve been good, they’ve been very good, and after an unbeaten November the hope is they’re starting to move in the right direction. All the statistics would point to them having had a better start in terms of points than they have, but the hope is they have got some real momentum into their season.
When the schedule first started to get hectic after the October international break, they lost four of five games in the remainder of the month. They faced difficult opposition, of course, but do you think they’ll be better equipped ahead of the next block?
They enjoyed a strong end to the transfer window which built a lot of optimism, but at the same time were losing lots of players, with 12 out for the defeat against Nottingham Forest, a game that just looked destined for 0-0. They played really well against Watford, but were beaten, and had a nightmare start against Reading, conceding after eight seconds, and were well beaten on the night. Poor defending cost them at Swansea, but the more players they get back available, the more equipped they look.
Adam Armstrong (pictured above) has been in sensational form so far this season, with 14 goals to his name at the time of writing. How important will he be to any aims Rovers have of reaching the play-offs?
Armstrong simply has to stay fit if they’re to stand a chance. He has really stepped up in 2020, and playing in a more central role the team is built around his pace and movement at the top end of the pitch. He’s averaging five shots a game, and looks like scoring every time he goes onto the pitch.
Armstrong aside, which player has impressed you most over the first few months of the campaign?
Goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski has settled in very well. He looks calm and assured in everything he does, and Rovers finally look to have found a replacement for David Raya. With change out of £500,000, the Belgian looks to have been a real find.
How is Tony Mowbray likely to set up his side at the Brentford Community Stadium?
They have played 4-3-3, and looked to dominate the ball, in every match they’ve played so far, and I can’t see that mindset and approach changing, though in reality it will be a different ask given Brentford’s style.
Blackburn have won five of the last seven meetings, with the last being an entertaining 2-2 draw at Griffin Park back in February. What’s your score prediction for this one?
There are interesting subplots across the pitch, with Armstrong and Ivan Toney vying for the top scorer spot, and also old against new with Kaminski at one end and Raya at the other. I think the goalkeepers might come out on top in this one, so will go for an entertaining 0-0.
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