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OPPOSITION VIEW: BLACKBURN ROVERS

18 August 2014

Essential reading on Tuesday's opponents

BLACKBURN ROVERS

Nickname: Rovers
Manager: Gary Bowyer
2013/14: 8th
Ground: Ewood Park
Fastest road route from Carrow Road: 227 miles (4 hours 18 minutes)

THE LOWDOWN
Blackburn’s steady incline under Gary Bowyer has continued at the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign, with four points earned from their opening two matches.

They kicked off the English football league season with a 1-1 draw with relegated Cardiff City at Ewood Park before beating local rivals Blackpool 2-1 at the weekend.

"It's very important to get that first win of the season,” said Bowyer, who has seen his team go unbeaten in their last 14 games stretching back to last season.


Rovers haven’t been very busy in the transfer window up to this point, bringing in the former City forward Chris Brown on a free transfer from Doncaster and Alex Baptiste on loan from Bolton Wanderers. Luke Varney also signed a one-year deal after his release from Leeds.

Paul Wheelock, the Blackburn reporter for the Lancashire Telegraph, sees Rovers’ strength coming from the players who helped them finish last year so strongly.

“Grant Hanley may only be 22 but he is its team’s captain and defensive leader, Craig Conway and Tom Cairney are their real creative forces and in Jordan Rhodes Rovers have, in my opinion, the best goalscorer outside of the Premier League,” he told City’s matchday programme.

This will be Rovers’ third year in the Championship after being relegated in 2012.

They memorably won the Premiership title in 1995 under the management of Kenny Dalglish. They have two other top flight wins to their name, along with six FA Cup triumphs and one League Cup victory.

THE BOSS
Gary Bowyer may not be a household name in football management – but his pedigree is well-known to supporters of Blackburn Rovers.


The 43-year-old has held the roles of Under-18s manager, head of coaching at their Academy, reserve team manager & caretaker manager, all before being appointed permanent manager in May last year.

His impact on a club that had made headlines for all the wrong reasons during their ignominious demotion from the Premier League in 2012 has been strong, with his leadership inspiring Rovers to an 8th-place finish in the Championship last term.

There has been no boardroom infighting and no managerial changes,” added Wheelock.

“Gary Bowyer and his staff have done a really good job. However there is still a lot to be done, mainly off the field, but on it too.”

The son of former Nottingham Forest midfielder Ian Bowyer, Gary played professionally for Hereford United and Rotherham United before moving into coaching with Derby County, from where he moved on to the Lancashire club.

He has a 36 percent win record from 52 games since taking over the managerial reins at Ewood Park.

THE SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson, Simon Eastwood, David Raya, Jake Kean.

Defenders: Adam Henley, Tommy Spurr, Matthew Kilgallon, Grant Hanley (c), Alex Baptiste, Yann Songo’o, Jack O’Connell.

Midfielders: Jason Lowe, David Dunn, Tom Cairney, Ben Marshall, Marcus Olsson, Lee Williamson, John O’Sullivan, Chris Taylor, Darragh Lenihan, Corry Evans, Connor Mahoney, Craig Conway.

Forwards: Joshua King, Chris Brown, Jordan Rhodes, Luke Varney, Rudy Gestede.

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