Blackburn Club Focus – Kean on the brink as Rovers prepare for crunch clash against local rivals

Under-pressure Blackburn Rovers manager Steve Kean is on the verge of losing his job according to the Daily Mail and other national newspapers. The Scot, who has been in his position as boss for a year, saw his side slip to their sixth top-flight defeat in eight home matches so far this term as they were beaten by West Brom. Kean has regularly been backed by Indian owners Venky’s, though whether they still remain confident enough in him to turn things around remains to be seen.

The numbers suggest that Rovers are in deep trouble – the Lancashire outfit have collected just 10 points from 16 Premier League games this season. Based on that form, relegation is a certainty. The reality is that Kean’s men would need to have an extremely impressive second half to the season if they are to avoid dropping into the Championship. Anything other than a win against local rivals Bolton on Tuesday night could prove to be disastrous.

Rovers fans will remember being in a similar position before. The 2008-2009 season saw Sam Allardyce replace Paul Ince after 17 league games. Back then, the Lancashire outfit had collected just 13 points. Under Big Sam, Rovers went on to collect another 28 points from 21 games and avoid the drop. Should Venky’s decide to replace Kean, then supporters will look back to that season and hope for a repeat.

The Daily Mail suggests that former Rovers hero Alan Shearer is in pole position to take Kean’s job, while the Daily Mirror indicates that Avram Grant or Mark Hughes could be alternative options. Although Shearer is still remembered fondly by many in these parts, his lack of experience will undoubtedly be called into question should he be appointed. Grant has already been relegated with Portsmouth and West Ham; therefore he would hardly inspire confidence in the supporters. Hughes would be the fans’ favourite, though it seems unlikely that he would be willing to return to the dugout at Ewood Park with Rovers in such a precarious position.

For now, the focus must be on the game against Bolton. The Trotters are currently bottom of the pile, while Rovers are just one position above them. Kean’s side did gain three precious points when they faced Bolton at Ewood Park last season and a repeat of that 1-0 scoreline is desperately needed. Whether a win would be enough to keep Kean in a job remains to be seen.

Rovers are likely to be without key players for the crunch clash. Gael Givet is set to undergo minor heart surgery, while Spanish full-back Michel Salgado and pacey wingers Martin Olsson and Junior Hoilett could also miss out. With so many injuries to important players, it is unsurprising to see Rovers in such a poor position. Venky’s will surely need to splash the cash in January in order to give the club a fighting chance of staying up. But who will be there to spend that money?

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Blackburn v Bolton

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