Club Focus – Blackburn Rovers – Rovers looking for West Ham win without Sam

Blackburn Rovers’ chairman John Williams has admitted that these have been a few difficult days for the club since the departure of Sam Allardyce and Neil McDonald, however Williams is asking fans to show their support for the club during this tough period.

There were reports emerging on Tuesday that Williams had walked away from the club, but these unconfirmed rumours proved to be false. Now, he is asking for everyone to get behind temporary manager Steve Kean ahead of this weekend’s clash against the Premier League’s bottom side, West Ham United.

Williams said: “The departure of Sam and Neil was unexpected and I would like to add my thanks to them both for their efforts over two years. It is widely accepted that they did a very good job for us. However, the decision has been taken and we must move on. I would like to appeal to all Rovers stakeholders to fully get behind Steve, an out-and-out football man and a true professional, on Saturday.”

He also added that any negativity around the club could play into the hands of Rovers’ upcoming opponents. “We need solidarity in every area. Football is a precarious business, fuelled by opinion, but I repeat that this is a time for everyone with a love for Blackburn Rovers to really show their support,” he said.

However, some fans are already planning to protest against the club’s owners’ decision to relieve Allardyce of his managerial duties. A Facebook group named ‘Blackburn Rovers Protest 18-12-10’ is calling for supporters to stay outside the ground or remain on the concourse for the first 10 minutes of the game against West Ham. Over 250 people have joined the group so far.

As for the game itself, Kean will be expected to lead Rovers to victory against the Hammers. Avram Grant is under huge pressure and with Blackburn usually so effective at picking up points at Ewood Park, this should be a good opportunity for the interim manager to start with a win. Indeed, Venky’s, the owners, seem to be impressed with the first-team coach’s approach to things and have given him the opportunity to show what he can do, with the view to perhaps giving him the job permanently if things go well under his guidance.

But West Ham are in no position to give in. Reports earlier this week suggested that Grant’s future at the club very much depended on the team’s results over the next three games. He has been told that the Hammers must win at least one of the three games against Blackburn, Fulham or Everton in order to stand a chance of avoiding the sack. Former Rovers boss Allardyce has apparently been identified as Grant’s successor should the Israeli fail to meet the above requirements.

This is a crucial period for Blackburn, as they face a run of games against sides expected to finish in the bottom half of the table. Should Kean manage to impress over the next few weeks, it is likely he could be given the job on a regular basis, but if things start to go wrong, the club’s owners will have a lot more thinking and explaining to do.

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