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Blackburn Rovers v West Ham Utd

Filed: Wednesday, 18th March 2009
By: Preview Percy

And so we schlep up the M6 to Ewood Park for a 3pm kick-off against Blackburn Rovers.

Rovers are on their second manager of the season with Ince being shown the door before he’d had a chance to go behind their backs to take someone else’s 30 pieces. His replacement was the less than lovable Sam Allardyce who, following the infamous Panorama programme, vowed never to speak to the BBC again. He was also going to sue the pants off Auntie for good measure. However, the statutory year and a day period elapsed after the broadcast with no sign of any legal correspondence winging its way to Broadcasting House from messrs Sue, Grabbit & Runne and, though it was a long day and I was falling asleep in front of the box at the weekend I could have sworn I saw his sylph-like figure chatting happily away to someone on MOTD last weekend.

There have been some eventful matches between the two clubs over the past few years. We’ll quietly draw a veil over 2004’s 7-1 and remind ourselves of the 3-1 win that marked our return to the Premiership in 2005 and the bizarre 2-1 win up there during the Great Escape when Mr Jim Devine – a linesman of no obvious “Russian” descent – awarded us what turned out to be a winner despite the ball not having crossed the line. I’m sure his address is available from the FA if the morally bankrupt players of Sheffield United want to find someone else to sue for their relegation. Perhaps the money will come in handy when Barnsley come knocking at their door.

Blackburn currently lie in 15th place, one point and three goals better off than Stoke, who currently occupy the final relegation spot. Their last six league games has seen them win two (Fulham and Hull both away, both 2-1), draw one (0-0 at Everton) and lose three (4-0 at Arsenal, 2-1 at Moan U, and 2-0 at home to Villa). In between all that they went out of the Cup at Coventry after a replay. Their last home win was the 2-1 defeat of Sunderland at the beginning of February. It’s fair to say that last week’s 4-0 drubbing at the library could have been even heavier had Wenger picked, say, his own Gran, to play instead of Bendtner who displayed a remarkable inability to hit the proverbial cow’s backside with a banjo.

Picking the ball out of the net last week was Paul Robinson, another ‘keeper who was once considered worthy of an England place, presumably because I was injured at the time. In front of him last week was the hapless Ooijer who opened the scoring for Arsenal with an own goal, having come in for skipper Ryan Nelsen, who had a calf strain. Nelsen may be available for a return this weekend as might the on-loan-with-a-view-to-a-permanent-deal Givet who is shown as available following a knee injury, along with Aussie international midfielder Grella who has been missing with a groin strain. Both Brett Emerton and Steven Reid are long term absentees with knee problems.

One player that will need no introduction will be striker El Hadj Diouf. Hammers away fans were introduced to this charming lout a few years back when he decided to empty his gob over the away section. Disgracefully his then employers Liverpool denied anything had occurred, only apologising for effectively calling supporters liars after their own staff came forward to confirm what had happened. Diouf then went up to Glasgow and did the same thing against Celtic, picking up a £5,000 fine and a conviction on the way. Throw in court appearances for drink driving and assaulting the wife of a team-mate and you’ll get some idea of what a nice guy this player is. His latest stunt was to tell Anton Ferdinand he was going to stab him whilst at Sunderland, a threat that saw the Senegalese international booted out to be reunited with Sam Allardyce, who had been his manager at Bolton. Yes the same Sam Allardyce whose lofty principles saw him threaten legal action against the BBC for tarnishing his good name. Funny old world innit!

El Hadj Diouf arrived during the transfer window during which his fellow forward Roque Santa Cruz seemed to be linked with moves to just about every club except Stringfellows. He missed the Arsenal match with a knee injury and has the infamous “no return date” tag next to his name on physioroom.com. If he is still away, Jason Roberts is likely to partner the spitter up front.

As for us, well the other night showed that shorn of a number of first-choice players we can sometimes lack ideas. On the injury debit side Upson will obviously be missed. On the up side both Collins and Dyer are said to be close to returns, though I suspect Ginge is likely to be closer to a start than Dyer. However, if, as seems likely, Ginge is not risked we can expect the same back four as finished the WBA match. Elsewhere there isn’t exactly an abundance of riches to select from. Though Tristan, who was on the bench in midweek following injury, might be fit enough to consider for a starting berth.

This will be a tough one. For all their relatively lowly position in the league, Blackburn are a typical Allardyce outfit where emphasis is placed primarily (if not always successfully) on being difficult to beat. We found out on Monday night that the current side can struggle against well-organised teams that flood the midfield. However, there will be pressure on them as the home side to perhaps go for it a bit more. We’ve been a bit of a bogey team for them of late so I’ll plump for a 1-1 draw from this one to bring a point back home down the M6.

Enjoy the game!

Last Season: 1-0
A Dean Ashton goal and some shoddy finishing from the home side gave us another three points.

Danger Man: Jason Roberts
Maybe my faulty memory but he seems to be one of those journeymen that always gives us a hard time.

Look Out For: El Hadj Diouf
Bring waterproofs whatever the weather!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Preview Percy
01:22PM 23rd Mar 2009
''I think that may be as much as the second time this season! ''

by Tell it how it is Charley
06:55PM 22nd Mar 2009
''You actually predicted a score correctly! Wonders will never cease!''

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