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THE INSIDE TRACK: BLACKBURN ROVERS

5 August 2016

Rovers boss set for first game in charge

NORWICH City travel to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, August 6 for their opening fixture of the 2016-17 Sky Bet Championship season.

Here, we take a look at what City will come up against at Ewood Park.

IN THE DUGOUT
Owen Coyle will make his bow as Blackburn Rovers boss this weekend, having been appointed to the role earlier this summer.

Succeeding former Norwich manager Paul Lambert in the role, his remit will be to improve on last season's 15th place finish.

Following a two-decade spell as a striker, most of which was spent in Scotland, Coyle's first steps into management were with Falkirk and St Johnstone before he joined Burnley in 2007.


An incredible second season at the helm saw giant-killing League Cup wins over Chelsea and Arsenal, culminating in promotion to the Premier League via a play-off final victory over Sheffield United.

Burnley began their subsequent top-flight campaign well, but were eventually relegated, with Coyle taking the decision to leave the Clarets in January 2010 to join Bolton Wanderers.

He remained there for two-and-a-half years, taking in stints at Wigan Athletic and Houston Dynamo since.

IN THE PRESS
Blackburn Rovers are steadily working their way back to full fitness ahead of this weekend, according to manager Owen Coyle.

Speaking to rovers.co.uk, the manager outlined: "There are one or two we need to check on.

"Corry Evans performed very well at the Euros with a slight niggle, and while it's getting better, Saturday will be too soon for him. Hopefully we'll have the squad that was available last weekend.


"Craig Conway is now back in contention, so bit by bit we are getting there."

Coyle's options are boosted further by the recent arrival of experienced defender Gordon Greer, who left Brighton & Hove Albion at the end of last season.

"I think it's a fantastic signing. He's shown he really wants to be here and play for Blackburn Rovers," he added.
  
WHO TO WATCH
Striker Danny Graham is looking to resurrect his career at Ewood Park, following a frustrating spell with Sunderland.

A prolific spell two-year stint at Watford prompted interest from Swansea in the former Carlisle-man, and Graham completed a move to Wales in the summer of 2011.

Goals continued to flow relatively regularly, even at Premier League level, with the Gateshead-born forward adjusting well to life in the top-flight.


He joined Sunderland in January 2013, but found himself sent on loan to four different clubs throughout his time on Wearside with first team opportunities limited.

The last of those four clubs was Blackburn, at the end of last season, where he netted seven times 18 league starts.

Adjusting to his new surroundings quickly, Graham completed a permanent switch to Rovers earlier this summer on a free transfer and will be aiming to prove himself as a Sky Bet Championship goal-getter once more.

A FOOT IN BOTH CAMPS
Numerous players have represented both clubs in recent times, with former Canaries Chris Brown, Elliott Bennett, Elliott Ward and Simeon Jackson among Blackburn's roster last term.

Of those, Ward and Bennett are still at Blackburn; the latter having made the switch to Ewood Park at the start of January this year following four-and-a-half years with City.

Arguably one of the most notable crossovers is Chris Sutton, who graduated from the Canaries' Academy in the early 1990s to star in the famous 1993 UEFA Cup run.


In July 1994 the forward became the most expensive player in British football when Rovers secured his services for £5million, immediately striking up a formidable partnership with Alan Shearer.

The duos combined forces secured the Premier League title at the end of Sutton's maiden season in Lancashire - their first top-tier title since 1914.

He netted a joint-divisional high of 18 goals during the 1997-98 season, and went on to feature for Chelsea, Celtic, Birmingham City, and Aston Villa before retiring from professional football in 2007.

THE SQUAD
Goalkeepers: Jason Steele, David Raya. 

Defenders: Adam Henley, Elliott Ward, Stephen Hendrie, Shane Duffy, Ryan Nyambe, Scott Wharton, Jack Doyle, Gordon Greer.

Midfielders: Jason Lowe, Liam Feeney, Jack Byrne, Ben Marshall, John O'Sullivan, Hope Apkan, Danny Guthrie, Darragh Lenihan, Willem Tomlinson, Connor Mahoney, Corry Evans, Elliott Bennett, Craig Conway.  

Forwards: Anthony Stokes, Danny Graham.



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