Blackburn Club Focus – Carling Cup comeback shows Rovers’ battling spirit ahead of vital Norwich fixture

Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean hailed his battling team following their thrilling 4-3 Carling Cup victory over previously unbeaten Newcastle United. The Lancashire outfit – who played at home for the third consecutive round in the competition – were leading 2-0 on the 90-minute mark, but two superb goals from the visitors in injury time took the game to extra-time.

Given Rovers’ woeful start to the season – Kean’s side are currently bottom of the Premier League – many would have expected heads to drop after Newcastle’s unbelievable comeback. However, Rovers once again took the lead through Morten Gamst Pedersen on 99 minutes. Alan Pardew’s men scored from the spot at the end of the first-half of extra-time, before French defender Gael Givet sealed Rovers’ place in the next round with a 120th minute winner.

Under-pressure manager Kean said: “If anyone questions if the team is together then they only need to look at tonight’s match. You don’t get a performance like that, against a team that is unbeaten, if you don’t have the team spirit and the togetherness as a group. For us to come back and not let it affect us, it shows fantastic morale that we’ve got in the camp.

The Scot also praised brave centre-back Givet. He said: “He actually felt his hamstring very close to half time, so I was warming Grant Hanley up thinking he was going to come off. But he refused to come off at half time, we were trying to take him off to protect him, but he didn’t want to, that shows you the type of player Gael Givet is.

He puts his head where some people wouldn’t put their foot, he is a warrior and worthy of the man of the match, so for him to pop up and get that back post header is full credit to him, he covered every blade of grass twice.

Despite Rovers’ terrific win in the cup, many Rovers fans are still unhappy about their league position. For them, the important game comes this weekend, when Kean’s side travel to newly-promoted Norwich City. A win could see the former Premier League champions – who are currently seven points behind Paul Lambert’s team – climb off the foot of the table and out of the relegation zone. However, Rovers are yet to win away from home this season, and Norwich will not make life easy for them.

Meanwhile, youngster Jason Lowe has signed a new long-term contract which will keep him at the club until the summer of 2016. The England Under-21 international, who is primarily a midfielder, has recently been involved with the Rovers first-team, filling in for injured right-back Michel Salgado. Upon putting pen to paper, Lowe said: “I’ve been here a long time, delighted to have signed a contract and now I just want to work as hard as I can. I arrived here as an under 11 so it has been a long time and hopefully there’ll be more yet, so I’m looking forward to it.

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