Blackburn Club Focus – Relegation battle reaching boiling point

Blackburn Rovers ended their run of five consecutive defeats in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over Norwich City at Ewood Park on Saturday afternoon. Mauro Formica and Junior Hoilett grabbed the goals which saw the Lancashire outfit climb above local rivals Bolton Wanderers and leave Steve Kean’s side just three points behind 17th-place Wigan Athletic as the race for survival reaches boiling point.

Popular Frenchman Gael Givet put in a man-of-the-match performance on his return to the starting line-up and helped Rovers secure just their third clean sheet of the season. The versatile defender was left out of the squad completely at Swansea last weekend, with Kean indicating that the player was not in the right frame of mind to play at the Liberty Stadium. However, Givet’s display against Norwich suggested that he could be a vital player for the Ewood Park outfit for their three remaining games of the season.

But the odds are still stacked firmly against Kean’s side. Although Wolverhampton Wanderers’ relegation was confirmed on Sunday, the team directly above the bottom-place side, Bolton, have two games in hand on their relegation rivals. In addition to this, two of Rovers’ final three games are away fixtures against top-four hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, while their last home game will see fellow strugglers Wigan visit Ewood Park. While it remains unclear just how many points Blackburn will need to stay up, it is looking more than likely that they will have to push for a shock win at White Hart Lane at the weekend to give themselves a fighting chance.

Manager Kean believes that his side have a good chance of staying up. According to Yahoo Sport, the Scot said: “We’ve got three games left and we’ve got to treat them as cup finals. All we can do is pick up points from every game and hope other teams stumble, and take advantage of that. There are always going to be twists and turns and I’m convinced there are going to be more. I thought we were worthy winners and if we play like that we can look forward to our next game. Wigan have still got to come here, and we’ve already this season been to Anfield, Goodison Park and Old Trafford – tough away games where we got something, so why can’t we go to White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge and get something?”

Meanwhile, angry Rovers supporters demonstrated against Kean and owners Venky’s prior to the game against Norwich. Fans marched from the town hall to Ewood Park in protest at the current ownership, while there were also chants of ‘we want Kean out’ and ‘we want Venky’s out’ during the game. There have been protests staged throughout the season and these are likely to continue until the owners begin to communicate with the fans, regardless of whether Blackburn remain in the Premier League or drop down to the Championship.

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