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Fan Focus: We Get The Ewood Eye From Dan Clough

Junior Hoilett could provide Kieran Richardson with a stern test this weekend...
Junior Hoilett could provide Kieran Richardson with a stern test this weekend...

It's Fan Focus time! For those who haven't quite been paying attention, this is where we like to chat with a fan, blogger or write who covers this weeks opposition, and today we've got a good one for you all as we prepare to entertain Blackburn Rovers this weekend.

We have had the pleaasure of being joined by another actual proper writer. Dan Clough covers the Rovers for the Lancashire Telegraph, and he's given us some top notch opinions and predicitons.

You can check out Dan's regular Blackburn musings here at the Lancashire Telegraph website on a regular basis, so why no do it. Ok, now you have, let's get talking about the game, Rovers' season so far and what on earth the Venky's are doing to the club...

Blackburn's start to the season appears to be just as bad as our own, a point and a place below us in the league, not to mention plenty of publicity for all the wrong reasons. Tell us how things are going at Ewood...

Dan: Badly. Fans are turning on each other in what is turning into a bitter tale. We are stuck with a manager nobody wants and with owners who seemingly do not know what they are doing. It's worrying times and I genuinely fear for our safety this season.

Steve Bruce was eventually ousted here, and every week people are saying Steve Kean is next. How much time is on his side in your eyes?

Dan: All the national media speculation says he is on the brink but everything Venky's says suggests he is here to stay. The next couple of months are crucial and I think they will stand by him. Which could be disastrous for us.

Can you also shed any light on the owners and what their grand plan is for Blackburn Rovers?

Dan: I don't think anybody can do that. They came in with promises of turning India into a nation of Rovers fans, big signings and a top four finish. The majority of Rovers fans remained sceptical, especially with the investment in playing staff which, granted, is more than we have had in years, but pales in comparison to the likes of Sunderland and other similar clubs, never mind the big boys in the top six.

On to the game itself, Rovers fans must be pretty buoyed by the recent thumping of Swansea headed into this one?

Dan: It was pleasing to win but do not be fooled, it was in no way a thumping. Swansea are poor, especially on the road, and we simply had to win. We have a very poor record at the SoL and I have little hope of coming away with much on Saturday, especially with your new managerial appointment.

One player I've admired for some time in the Rovers side is Junior Hoilett. Do you think Rovers can hold on to him beyond January?

Dan: I think we'll hang on to him in January and lose him on a free in summer. But yes, Hoilett is a superb player and a really good prospect. He is particularly good when partnered by Martin Olsson on the opposite wing.

What have you made of Sunderland's start to the season, and who do you think Rovers need to be wary of this weekend?

Dan: I am surprised to see Sunderland so far down the table, and indeed only one point clear of ourselves. Often such a solid team and very difficult to beat on your home ground, I pretty much expect you to be around mid-table. However, it would seem the lack of a replacement for Bent and Gyan has cost you. I like the look of Sessegnon.

What do you make of any potential ‘new manager effect' which could come into play now we've appointed Martin O'Neill?

Dan: The one thing O'Neill has done at every club he has managed is get off to a great start, and I have every confidence he will do this at Sunderland. He seems one of those managers that commands respect, and every Sunderland player will play out of their skins in his first game in a desperate bid to avoid being dropped. I think he will turn things around for Sunderland, at our expense!

What do you think the key battle will be on the pitch in order for either side to win things?

Dan: After seeing Richardson look impressive down the left wing at Wolves, it will be interesting to see who we play at right back. If Salgado is chosen, expect to see him spending a lot of the afternoon being skinned! If it is Jason Lowe, who has been deputising in recent weeks, it could be a more interesting contest. But once you've beaten our full backs, we are very weak at the back at the moment - despite having man mountain Samba in there.

And lastly, what's your prediction for the game itself?

Dan: I never bet on us to lose, so I'm going to say a very hopeful 2-2! Yakubu and Samba with our goals, both headers.

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Many thanks to Dan for providing some great insight on the Rovers. Be sure to find out more from him in the build-up to the game by visiting http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/sport/football/blackburn_rovers/blogs/dan_clough/