The last time struggling Blackburn Rovers tasted victory against Stoke City in the Premier League was back in December 2008 – when the Lancashire outfit cruised to an impressive 3-0 win in what happened to be former manager Sam Allardyce’s very first game in charge of the club. Prior to collecting those precious three points, Rovers had picked up just 13 points from 17 games under Paul Ince. The appointment of Allardyce changed Rovers’ fortunes and their top-flight status was eventually protected.
The Scot knows that the next handful of games will go a long way into deciding Rovers’ fate. The former Premier League champions face Stoke, Swansea, Sunderland, West Brom and Bolton before Christmas. Rovers will need to start picking up some wins during this period before they travel to Anfield and Old Trafford on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve respectively.
Despite the fact that Rovers’ Premier League status is currently under threat, Kean’s job appears to be safe. Indian owners Venky’s have not extended his contract, but they have altered the terms of it, with many national newspapers claiming that the Scot has been given a pay rise. The details of the deal – including whether there are any point targets or other such agreements – are unknown.
Rovers confirmed the news on their website. A statement read: “Following recent media speculation Blackburn Rovers FC can confirm a revision to manager Steve Kean’s existing contract has been completed. An agreement made in the summer has now been formalised. Contrary to some reports there is no change to the length of the contract. The club respects that all contracts are private and confidential and no further comment will be made.”
The new deal has angered many supporters, who are unable to understand why the owners have consistently backed their man despite poor results. Kean has picked up just 29 points from a possible 99 since taking charge at Ewood Park, leading Rovers to victory on just six occasions in 11 turbulent months. The majority of fans would love to see the Scot turn things around and drag Rovers out of the relegation zone – but just how many more poor results will it take before Venky’s decide to replace him?
For now, Rovers must focus on sorting out their defensive problems ahead of the upcoming fixture against Stoke. A win would certainly raise spirits in this part of Lancashire and would boost squad morale. Whether Kean can guide his side to all three points at the Britannia Stadium remains to be seen.
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