Blackburn Club Focus – Was Kean the right man all along?

For months, much-maligned manager Steve Kean has been telling angry fans that he is the right man to turn things around at Blackburn Rovers. For months, Kean has claimed his players are behind what he is trying to do at Ewood Park. For months, the optimistic Scot has given hungry youngsters the chance to compete against the Premier League’s more established stars. Kean has finally got his reward.

Those who thought that a surprise point at Anfield on Boxing Day was simply a one-off, a fluke result, will have been lost for words at Rovers’ sensational 3-2 victory over champions Manchester United at Old Trafford on New Years’ Eve. The lowly Lancashire outfit had been expected to lose that game and even Rovers’ own fans had lost hope of getting a result. But they were able to celebrate a superb result thanks to two goals from the in-form Nigerian striker Yakubu and a winning goal scored by promising centre-half Grant Hanley.

That unexpected result lifted Rovers back off the foot of the table and the Kean’s spirited side could even climb out of the relegation zone should they manage to collect maximum points from their next home game against Stoke City on Monday afternoon. The possibility of that happening seemed extremely unlikely when Rovers had been beaten against local-rivals Bolton a couple of weeks ago, but the battling Blues have managed to give themselves a fighting chance following the positive results against Liverpool and Manchester United.

For the second game in a row, Jason Lowe, Hanley and Adam Henley were joined by influential skipper Chris Samba as part of the back four, and the trio impressed once again. Another youngster, Josh Morris, also made an appearance in the second half, as did £1m summer signing Jordan Slew. Even though his side are currently near the bottom end of the table, Kean is continuing to stick with his youngsters. His and their courage has been impressive during these tough times.

But the job has not yet been done. The comeback is not complete. Kean has not gone from zero to hero just yet. Stoke will be tough opponents at Ewood Park on Monday and Rovers will have to be at their best in order to get three points. Should they manage to do so, then some of the protesting fans may just begin to ease off the ‘Kean out’ chants which have echoed around the home ground during various games over the past few months. This could be a great opportunity for the Scot to convince the supporters he is the right man for the job. But a defeat against Tony Pulis’ Europa League outfit would bring Rovers and Kean back to square one again.

Kean himself acknowledged this: “What can you say about winning at Old Trafford? But it won’t count for a lot if we blow it in the upcoming games and what we want to do now is make the last couple of results count at Ewood.” Monday’s clash will be crucial.

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

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