View on the Opposition - Blackburn Rovers

Lancashire Telegraph's Paul Wheelock lifts the lid on Sunday’s opponents
Lancashire Telegraph's Blackburn Rovers reporter Paul Wheelock lifts the lid on Sunday’s opponents.

A good result for Rovers in midweek, how important is that for confidence?

“In terms of the league, there is hope it will be massively important. Rovers had failed to win any of their previous nine Championship matches and were slipping too close to the relegation places for comfort.

“That said they have lost only one of their last six games in all competitions and they produced impressive, professional performances against Newport County and Oxford United to set-up Sunday’s tie.”

How important is this FA Cup game compared to the league?

“Given Rovers are 17 points behind the play-offs with 16 games to play, there is little chance of them finishing in the top six. So the immediate aim for the rest of the season has to be pulling clear of danger before finishing as strongly as possible in preparation for what has to be a big summer for the club.
“The FA Cup therefore represents an excellent opportunity to keep the campaign alive and, you never know, glory too.”

How do you expect Blackburn to approach Sunday’s game?

“With confidence. The win over Fulham in midweek has really lifted the spirits and last season Rovers proved they can live with Premier League outfits. They knocked Swansea City and Stoke City out at Ewood Park and went close to doing the same to Liverpool at Anfield before losing a closely fought replay. They know they will be underdogs but there will be no fear.”
Which players have been in good form recently?

Ben Marshall has been catching the eye at right-back, scoring three goals in the FA Cup wins over Newport and Oxford, while Corry Evans has also been in excellent form over these last three matches.

“Fellow midfielder Jordi Gomez has made an immediate impact and the same can be said of striker Danny Graham, who has also joined on loan from Sunderland. Graham, though, unlike Gomez, is ineligible on Sunday. He was a big miss in the recent league loss to Hull City, as was captain and centre-back Grant Hanley, who has been Rovers’ player of the year so far."

What is your prediction for Sunday’s score?

“I’m going for a 2-1 Rovers win. Sorry Hammers fans!”