Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Allardyce looks to kick-start away form

Blackburn Rovers return to Premier League action this weekend with a daunting trip to Eastland’s next up for Sam Allardyce’s side. The Lancashire outfit have only secured one victory from their opening three league games of the new season and now face the tough task of outwitting big-spending Manchester City on their travels.

The international break could not have come at a better time for Big Sam’s men, following consecutive Premiership defeats against Birmingham and Arsenal. Local fans could argue that their side deserved more out of those above two mentioned encounters and that view would be somewhat justified. On both occasions, Rovers have only lost out by a narrow margin and were always a threat against their opponents. Now, it is time for the Ewood Park outfit to move on and try to make up on the lost ground as Rovers aim to secure yet another top ten finish.

No less than five City players featured for England in the national team’s game against Switzerland, surely a sign of the financial strength the Manchester side have and their capability of signing top English talent for big money. However, Roberto Mancini’s side have also faced a stuttering start to their campaign, with the Blues currently only a single point ahead of Rovers after just three games. Having tasted defeat to Sunderland last time out, City are certainly vulnerable to another such result.

Allardyce tends to organise his teams well at home, something demonstrated by the fact that Rovers lost just three times at Ewood Park in the whole of last season. However, the previous campaign also saw Blackburn struggle away from home, particularly against the bigger teams where they were defeated by huge scorelines. Big Sam will be hoping to avoid a repeat of the corresponding fixture from last season when a Carlos Tevez hat-trick inspired the home side to a brilliant 4-1 victory over their Northern rivals.

There have also been some developments off the field too. Rumours suggest that the takeover of Blackburn Rovers by Indian businessman Ahsan Ali Syed is not going to go ahead, however there is no clear answer as to whether this is really the case. Recent reports have suggested that Syed has some troubling financial problems from some years ago, though it is unknown how much of an impact this would have on any proposed deal. As it stands, the transfer window is now shut and Rovers still have no money to spend.

Meanwhile, summer loan signing Mame Biram Diouf admits he is only interested in performing well for Blackburn this season. The Senegalese forward has impressed the Ewood Park crowd already this season with a number of home goals to his name and the striker has revealed that scoring goals for Rovers is his main priority this season, rather than impressing Sir Alex Ferguson at his parent club Manchester United.

In other player news, versatile French defender Pascal Chimbonda is looking to earn a new contract with the club. The full-back came close to securing a move to West Ham during the transfer window, however he claims that Rovers did not want to let him go due to the fact that he can play left-back, right-back and at centre-half. Another player who remains in blue and white is Jason Roberts. The former Wigan man was available for transfer, however a reported asking price of £1m and high wage demands meant he had no other destination. Although both parties thought a move away would be the best option, Roberts remains a Rovers player and Sam Allardyce admits that the striker possesses some useful qualities which could come in handy for the team.

Looking ahead to the coming fixture against Man City, Big Sam will undoubtedly be disappointed with the points his team have dropped so far this season and the only way to put that right would be to get a massive result against the Premier League’s richest club. Not only would a win put Rovers ahead of their opponents and back on track, but it would seriously show that the Lancashire side are a real force to contend with. Nevertheless, based on the obvious quality and talent City have in their side, coupled with the fact that the game is at Eastland’s, it seems likely that the home side will get a result. However, Blackburn are a solid team and usually prove hard to beat for many opposition teams, so this should be an interesting game.

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