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Blackburn Rovers Club Focus - Abject Rovers on brink of relegation

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By Mushtaq Quraishi

Monday 30 April 2012

If ever proof was needed that Blackburn Rovers’ memorable 11-year stint in the Premier League is on the verge of coming to a miserable end, then the limp, lifeless and lacklustre performance at White Hart Lane on Sunday was it.

The ill-fated visitors, who are in the midst of a tough relegation battle, suffered a morale-sapping 2-0 defeat at the hands of Champions League chasing Tottenham Hotspur. That desperately disappointing result left Steve Kean’s jaded side in 19th place and three points adrift of safety, although based on their dreary display, the much-maligned Scot will probably be grateful that Rovers’ already poor goal difference did not take an even greater hit.

Many of Blackburn’s passionate supporters and even some neutrals found it difficult to believe that the team which turned up to face an out-of-form Spurs side were fighting for their Premier League lives. On a weekend where fellow strugglers Wigan Athletic showed great spirit, determination and attacking flair to demolish top-four hopefuls Newcastle United 4-0, Rovers became the first team since West Bromwich Albion in December 2004 to not manage a single shot in a top-flight fixture. Despite sitting bottom of the table after 37 fixtures during the 2004/05 season, the Baggies did secure their Premier League status on the final day of that campaign, and Blackburn could still mathematically do the same. However, given that Rovers must still play a resurgent Wigan side at Ewood Park before facing Champions League finalists Chelsea in their last game, it seems as though it will take a miracle for Kean’s men to survive.

The ever-positive Scot still believe his team have enough quality to get something from their final two fixtures, but recent form would suggest that Rovers are in deep trouble. The Lancashire outfit have had Yakubu’s goals to thank for giving them a glimmer of hope for much of the campaign, but over-reliance on the Nigerian forward is now beginning to show - the 29-year-old has failed to score in his last three games. Indeed, Blackburn have been unable to find the net in four of their previous six fixtures, which is a worrying statistic when you consider that the former Premier League champions, who have racked up an impressive 47 goals this season, must win their next game and possibly the one after in order to give themselves a fighting chance of staying in the top division.

Should Bolton win their next two games and Queens Park Rangers beat Stoke, then Blackburn could be all but relegated (though not mathematically, due to goal difference) by the time they even face Wigan next Monday night. But all is not yet lost. Although Rovers’ fate is no longer in their own hands, if their rivals fail to win their upcoming matches, then victory over the Latics at Ewood Park would allow Kean’s side to take their relegation scrap to the final day. Rovers may look doomed, but there is still a flicker of hope.

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