Spyin Kop: Blackburn Preview

Posted by Armin on March 13, 2005, 03:18:02 PM

Sometimes true genius is recognised only after the event.  I repeat this aphorism several times an hour, in a voice that rises steadily until it becomes a fevered scream, yett never was it more relevant than this weekend.  As a succession of second rate clubs that had singularly failed to make it to the last eight of the Champions League proceeded to play some meaningless ties in some competition, the name of which escapes me, the reds were given extra time to bask in the delight of Wednesdays triumph at Bayer Leverkusen.  Credit must be given to the manager for forseeing our need for rest, hopefully we will repay him by being in good voice for Wednesdays visit of Blackburn Rovers, now led by Kop favourite Mark Hughes.

Just like Marty McFly 'Spyin Kop' this week heads Back to the Future.  In a zany move sure to cause controversy amongst Red fans this weeks questions will be answered by high school jock and habitual bully 'Biff' and the eccentric recluse Doctor 'Doc' Emmett Brown.  Except they won't because that would be very silly indeed.  Instead we are going back to our previous Blackburn Rovers respondents James from www.roversactive.co.uk and Danny from http://www.blueandwhites.com to ask the what has changed for the Rovers since our last meeting.

Should your doubtless alcohol ravaged and long suffering cerebellums not recall the previous answers given way back in the time when Djibril Cisse's legs were in the regular number of pieces then take a look here: http://www.redandwhitekop.com/forum/index.php/topic,42174.0.html

And having done that proceed forthwith to again travel within the very mind of a Blackburn Rovers fan.  Who is to say what wonders we shall witness?  Let the 'Fan''tastic Voyage commence:


RAWK: How has your season progressed since we last met?

James: Our season continues to improve, we are playing with much more
confidence and the rise to form of Todd and Morton Gamst Pederson
amongst others has seen us looking less and less likely for the drop.

Danny: The 2-2 draw at Ewood Park at the end of October has been the turning
point for the whole season, in what was a superb performance by the team.  Before that game, Rovers lost their last two league games 4-0, but including that 2-2 draw, Rovers have only lost 5 of their 18 league games ever since - clearly showing the teams significant progression under Mark Hughes.


RAWK:Has Mark Hughes proved to be the right choice?  What do you reckon to the style of play he's adopted?  Is there a marked difference from Souness?

James: For Many Mark Hughes was the only choice, he has done a good job since joining. One thing that you notice straight away about Rovers under Hughes is that we are much stronger defensively - both his signings of Nelson and Moekena have played well in Defensive positions.  Souness did a good job for Rovers, but unfortinatly we seemed to stop progressing and so the fresh start with a new manager has helped our cause a lot.

Danny: It still is quite early days yet, but Mark Hughes has been the best manager since Kenny Dalglish by far - an excellent decision by John Williams and the Blackburn board to appoint him, after it was quite a risk considering Hughes had no previous club management experience.You only have to look at Newcastle United (despite their recent
improvement in form) to see what Rovers do not miss in terms of Graeme Souness - awful defence, player fallouts and negative media publicity to name but a few things.

Mark Hughes has installed a completely different style of play from the Souness era at Ewood Park, with emphasis on keeping goals from going in the wrong end.  Rather like Mourinho at Chelsea, he concentrated on building a solid foundation at the back first, before allowing the team to show what they are capable of going forward (something Rovers will probably produce next season when new strikers are purchased in the Summer).  As a result, not many goals are produced in a game at present, (which may upset fans expecting entertainment, and reduce our allocation on MOTD) but the team is
slowly starting to move up the table now, something every Blackburn fan appreciates.


RAWK:Will Dickov be fit by Wednesday?  Is he now your most important striker?

James: Dickov could be fit for our Home match against Leicester City on Sunday, I'm not sure that he will play a 90 minutes for either fixture. Paul is without a doubt our most important Striker, he has hardly missed a match, he always puts in 100% and currently he is our top goalscorer.

Danny: As long as he does not aggravate or pick up a new injury against Leicester on Sunday, he should be fit for the game.  He is our most important striker because he is our only decent striker - Gallagher, Bothroyd, Jansen and probably Johnson are just not up to standard, whilst Stead's future at the club is in the balance at the moment after finally opening his account against Everton last week - if he manages to score against Leicester at the weekend then he may just be a threat to Liverpool next Wednesday due to improved confidence.


RAWK:Was Robbie Savage worth the money and the hassle?

James: Robbie has played very well since joining, he seems to be a firm favourite with the fans already and I'm sure that he can only get better. Well worth the money, but i'm not sure their was much hassle (from a Rovers perspective), we did little talking - you'll have to ask Steve Bruce about that.

Danny: In my opinion yes, although £3.1 million may be a little too much.  He's only played 7 times for us since signing from Birmingham, and although he may not have made as much of an impact that he did at St. Amdrews so far, he does look to be showing signs of improvement.  Going forward in terms of creativity and from set-peices, he offers
something from midfield that Rovers have lacked all season long.


RAWK:How are former reds David Thompson and Dominic Matteo playing?

James: Dominic Matteo has played a lot of games for us this season and I have been very disapointed with his performances, I don't understand why he played in the side for so long. He has missed the last few games through injury, when he returns I'm not sure that he will be able toforce himself back into the side.

David Thompson is still returning from an operation and has missed a
lot of matches. He is Slowly returning and seems to be improving match by match, although it is still clear that he is a long way from what we know that he is capable of.

Danny: Nothing has changed since I last commented on here about Dominic Matteo - one of the worst transfers in the recent history of the club.  He may be fit for the game at Anfield, and Hughes does seem to like playing him, but the majority of Rovers fans agree that he is a complete liability.

David Thompson has been out for a long time with injuries, and his return was welcomed as he has provided the midfield spark in the past for the team, but this season that has just not happened.  No-one knows where his best position is, and at the moment there are other midfielders in better form to take his place.


RAWK:What do you make of the atmosphere at Anfield?  Will you be making the journey and do you have any memories of previous games here?

James: I always have a good time going to anfield, and I will be making the trip again on Wednesday. I didn't go to it, although one anfield game that sticks out for obvious reasons is the fixture from May 1995! More Recently I remember the 4-3 loss at the end of the season, Damien Duff Scoring one of our goals.

Danny: Unfortunately I have never been to Anfield, so I can't really say.  Watching on the TV it often seems a bit quiet, but I'm sure there is a great atmopshere at such as historic ground - the fact that the game will be played in the evening always adds to the atmosphere as well.


RAWK:You'll be on a high after outclassing a dire and uninspired Everton side (thanks for that), what are your expectations for this game, and do you have a prediction re the score?

James: Well, you couldn't beat the Dingles (No excuse's please!) and Everton are higher in the table then yourself, with your European hangover still looming I wouldn't mind a 1-0 win!

Danny: Rovers have only ever won once at Anfield in the Premiership, but this fixture does generally seem to produce some fantastic games.  Last season's game is one to forget for Rovers fans, but the season before that, I remember Andy Cole's stunning 40 yard volley to earn a 1-1 draw.  The previous season, Damien Duff rounded off a superb team goal in a 4-3 defeat on the same night that Arsenal clinched the title at
Old Trafford, and there was the little matter of a title decider at the end of the 94/95 season as well!

If Everton qualify for the Champions League next season then they will be an absolute laughing stock, but on the other hand I don't think Liverpool deserve to be their either, despite their impressive European form this season.  It's hard to predict any game involving Liverpool - one day they beat Arsenal, and another lose to Birmingham
or Southampton.

One thing is for certain though, Rovers won't roll over like they did last season, and I expect a 1-1 draw on Wednesday night (although my mind might be changed depending on the result and performance against Leicester).

---

Whether Danny was impressed by Blackburn's eventual triumph against a determined but limited Leicester side remains to be seen.  The absence of Robbie Savage may be a plus point for the Reds, although robbing the game of a pantomime hate figure, luckily Paul Dickov should be ready to take on that mantle...  Our thanks once again to Danny and James for yet another sterling performance, rumours that RAWK will soon be preparing a transfer bid involving a cash adjustment and a member of the current team to take these trusty correspondents to this site cannot be confirmed although this writer has received a disturbing email from Rushian enquiring if I enjoyed 'Pies and Whippets'. 

 :(

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