Behind Enemy Lines: Blackburn Rovers

MILLWALL face Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Wednesday night aiming for a first win in six games.

The Lions have drawn their last five in the league and their last three away from home 0-0. Millwall are 12th, a point behind Rovers in ninth.

Alex Grace spoke to Rovers fan Mike Delap ahead of the game.

Twitter: @MikeyDelap

Why do you support Blackburn?

Because God decided that I needed to pay for some past crimes in a previous life.

In all seriousness, because I decided that I wanted to be the weird kid in a school in Manchester and support somebody different, so this is me.

Thirty-odd odd years later, I’m still here and supporting the same team.

What season did you first start following Rovers?

1992-93. Possibly encroaching on glory supporting territory here… (Rovers won the Premier League in 1994-95)

What is the most memorable Blackburn game you’ve seen?

The 7-1 win over Norwich was my first game. Not bad for a start!

Outside of the obvious Premier League-winning game at Anfield, I’d say the 4-3 win over Manchester United at Ewood when David Bentley banged in a hat-trick.

Defeat at Millwall in July ended Rovers’ play-off hopes last season – what were your thoughts on the 2019-20 campaign?

Rovers did okay. We never quite had enough mental steel about us to push into the play-off spots when the opportunity presented itself, but in relation to budgets and transfer spend of other teams Rovers finished about where was expected.

Tony Mowbray took over in 2017 – is he still the right man to carry Rovers forward?

The jury is very much out. History indicates where we are now is about his virtual ceiling, but to much credit he has assembled a very vibrant and dynamic-looking squad and on that basis deserves the opportunity to try.

It would seem a bit senseless to let him spend the money he has and then turf him out the first sign of trouble – we’re not Nottingham Forest.

Blackburn have this season’s top scorer in the Championship in Adam Armstrong – what’s behind such a good run of form?

Funnily enough the injury to Bradley Dack in December 2019.

Adam was doing well enough up to that point but in Bradley’s absence he has found another gear and picked up the slack.

He used to play a lot wider than he does now but since moving centrally Adam has excelled. It will be interesting to see what happens when Mr. Dack makes his long-awaited return…

It was a win apiece for the sides in the 2019-20 season

It’s been a fairly solid start for Rovers – are the fans happy at present?

Yes, I’d say so. There’s always a bubbling anger to any defeat just waiting to come to the fore as you find anywhere, but generally most seem fairly pleased with how things are panning out.

To be in and around the top six is the expectation this season, so it is safe to say that falling much behind that target will see the mood disintegrate fairly swiftly.

The club should be looking to crack on and a promotion push needs to be forthcoming given what the manager and the players are saying in unison.

What are your thoughts on Lions boss Gary Rowett?

I rate him to a certain degree. He always seems to organise a side at this level and no game against a Rowett team is a given. I’m expecting a very tough test.

January is just around the corner and that means another transfer window – where do you think Rovers need to strengthen?

I’d have a personal wish of three additions: right-back, centre-back cover and someone to pop in some goals in case Armstrong ever gets injured.

If you could add two Millwall players to the Blackburn side, who would they be and why?

As you can imagine I don’t see a lot of Millwall, but based on what I have seen I’d say Jake Cooper and Jed Wallace. Anytime I’ve seen them play they look very decent. So those two.

Besides Armstrong, who are Blackburn’s danger men?

Ben Brereton is a changed man this season, gone is the forlorn and hopeless-looking youngster and in his place has come the powerful and hungry machine that has excelled so far this term.

Joe Rothwell is also a bundle of energy in midfield.

Obviously due to Covid-19 fans are unable to attend games at present – will you following from home?

I will indeed. My son’s football training is at 6pm, home by 7, bed for him by 7.30 and on goes the laptop.

What’s your predicted Blackburn starting XI and formation?

4-3-3

Kaminski; Nyambe, Lenihan, Ayala, Bell; Holtby, Rothwell, Johnson; Gallagher, Armstrong, Brereton.

Finally, a score prediction? 

2-1 to Rovers.

Graphic: @ShedCreative

Staff

(@NewsAtDen)