Rovers make the return from the international break with a trip to the Energy Check Stadium to face Bury on Saturday.
It seems a while ago since Rovers’ last league fixture – it was, in fact, the disappointing 2-2 draw against Fleetwood. However, Rovers did fare better in the FA Cup a few days later progressing after beating Barnet 3-1.
A lot has happened while we’ve been off. Rovers now can look forward to a Sunday afternoon fixture against Crewe in the Emirates FA Cup second round. Mowbray’s men will no longer participate in the Checkatrade Trophy as a draw at Rochdale wasn’t enough to finish within the top two of the group stage.
In terms of players, Harry Chapman is now on the road to recovery having undergone hamstring surgery in Finland whereas everyone hopes the next month or so could see the long-awaited return of defender Darragh Lenihan.
All in all, it has been a busy week or so. Despite there being no competitive fixture for Rovers. Tony Mowbray has stepped up the players’ regime. Just the usual one day off for the players and they were back in working hard to get things right on the pitch.
A mix of intense physical fitness training, as well as tactical sessions on our shape and match sequences, will have been what the players have gone through – as Mowbray hopes to put a run of promotion winning form together in the coming weeks.
There’s no doubt, Rovers have flattered to deceive this season all while keeping in touch with the top six. A number of draws last month meant Rovers couldn’t kick on in the way many thought they would.
But, that’s all behind everyone. It’s important to now dwell on what has been and focus on moving forward in what is a hectic fortnight for the football club. Five games in two weeks means that the players have to hit the ground running to create the momentum they need.
Saturday’s fixture is the ideal opportunity. The Shakers are shaking. It’s one win in their last eight competitive games. You would have to go back to the 14th October to find Bury’s last league win which was an impressive 3-1 home win against Bradford.
Since then it has been bad news for them. Lee Clark lost his job which gives Ryan Lowe the opportunity to impress in a caretaker role. However, if events of the last week are anything to go by he won’t be lasting long, following their FA Cup exit.
A score draw away to non-league Woking followed by a 0-3 drubbing at home to them in the replay was enough to enrage the locals and needed chairman Stuart Day to release a statement at how disappointed he was at the display on Tuesday night.
A colleague who works at Bury said this week that “I don’t think Bury’s problems will be anywhere near sorted by Saturday.” He also informed of two Bury season ticket holders telling him that if it wasn’t Blackburn this weekend, they wouldn’t be going!
There was certainly an underlining feeling of desperation and panic whilst reading Stuart Day’s statement. A feeling of, “We know we were bad on Tuesday but please, still come to Gigg Lane in what is a massive money day for the football club.”
From a chairman’s point of view, who can blame him?
Given that Bury have been embarrassed exiting the Emirates FA Cup by non-league opposition and that they sit bottom of the Sky Bet League One table. Wouldn’t it be the most Rovers thing ever if Mowbray’s men lost this Saturday?
The odds are stacked in the visitor’s favour. Bury out of form, with Rovers desperate to get back to winning ways in the league. The head-to-head stats take even better reading. Rovers are up on overall wins and have tasted just one defeat in this fixture since 1954!
Who can ever forget the last time Rovers met Bury at Gigg Lane? April 1980 ring any bells? Sure it does! It was the very scene of the late Howard Kendall’s Blackburn Rovers gaining promotion. The visitors winning the game 1-2 and a return to the second tier of English football.
It’s interesting to note that Rovers were sat in a lowly 20th position in November of that season. 14 wins and 1 draw in a fifteen match sequence saw a revival and ultimately ended in promotion. Something to ponder on for those pessimistic Rovers supporters amongst us!
Another away game and another opportunity to applaud and tribute the incomparable away support from Blackburn Rovers fans this season. The club will see the biggest away following of the season so far with an expected 3700 fans backing Tony Mowbray and his team this Saturday.
What a monumental effort from everyone connected with the club. If you don’t already know, fans might want to take a second glance at their match ticket as Bury have made the decision to split the travelling support into the two stands behind both goals.
It will be a first for many a Rovers fan to be facing their own support at an away ground. Will it enhance the atmosphere? Possibly. Will it be an advantage for the travelling Rovers players? Definitely.
The players that are selected on Saturday will receive double the noise from both sides of the ground. And that can only work in Rovers’ favour. Whichever end they attack will be packed with Rovers supporters. It’s all in the mind of course. But it must be seen as a huge advantage that Rovers’ support will dominate the atmosphere.
It’s also likely that there will be more Rovers fans than Bury fans. Bury’s last home league game saw around 2500 home supporters watch their 0-1 defeat to Doncaster. With the expected number of Rovers fans to travel. Well, you can do the maths!
In terms of a spectacle, these games as many know aren’t classics. Rovers have performed very well to win comfortably at a lowly Rochdale, but also perform poorly on the road and lost to Oldham. It’s going to be interesting to watch the opening twenty minutes.
Here is where the game will be won and lost for Rovers. We will find out, who is up for the fight, the shape of the team and how we will affect the game. Nobody expects too much from Bury so it will be up to Mowbray’s men to dictate and take the initiative.
It’s vital to remember that it isn’t too long ago we witnessed an inspired Bury beat a lacklustre Rovers at Ewood Park in the Checkatrade Trophy. Granted, it was a much-changed starting eleven and not many will look too much into that fixture.
It’s a bit of an unknown what to expect. Rovers need the right result to set them on course to create the much-needed momentum. One consistent element we will see on Saturday is the remarkable support from the Rovers supporters.
You are without question absolutely inspirational. Make sure you back your players all the way, from the moment they come out to warm up to the last player leaving the field. Most importantly, everyone involved with Saturday will once again see just how big this football club can be.
Enjoy the game.
Thanks for reading.
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