Slipping to the bottom of the Premier League table, slumping to a defeat at the hands of Championship outfit Cardiff City in the Carling Cup and then being ridiculed for seemingly suggesting that Blackburn Rovers ‘forfeited’ that game – it is safe to say that this has been a tough week for much-maligned manager Steve Kean.
Neither the protests nor the manager’s comments will be of any real importance this weekend. The only matter of significance will be whether Rovers can claim three crucial points when Brendan Rodgers’ promoted side visit Ewood Park. The home side have collected just seven Premier League points so far this term, and last tasted victory in the top flight in mid-September when they recorded a 4-3 victory over Arsenal. While Kean would be satisfied with a similar result against the Swans, he would be far more delighted if Rovers managed to pick up maximum points and keep their first clean sheet since April.
In the statement where he explained his team selection at Cardiff, the manager suggested that key defenders Chris Samba, Michel Salgado and Martin Olsson could return against Swansea. He said: “All three had been out for several games with hamstring problems and the medical advice indicated that to play them on Tuesday would represent a major risk to their long term fitness. Had any of them felt a reaction they could have been sidelined until the New Year. Given our situation in the Barclays Premier League and a massive home game looming at the weekend against Swansea, it was a risk I just couldn’t take.”
If those three players can return this weekend, then it will be a welcome boost for Rovers and Kean. The Scot has rarely been in a position to name his first choice backline since replacing Sam Allardyce at Ewood Park last season. That the Lancashire outfit has been shipping goals at an alarming rate during Kean’s reign is therefore no great surprise.
Should Rovers claim their second win of the season by beating Swansea, then Kean’s side could climb up to 18th position in the Premier League. A defeat for the home side coupled with positive results for local rivals Bolton and Wigan however, could see Rovers end the weekend even further behind. This is just one of many must-win games for Kean as Blackburn battles to save its season.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Blackburn v Swansea