Rovers will be looking to make it four straight league wins on Tuesday night as they take on Lancashire neighbours Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
Mowbray’s men are now up to fifth place in Sky Bet League One thanks to three straight league victories, the first time they’ve achieved three in a week since 2006. They’ll be looking to go one better and make it four as the latest game in hand takes centre stage this Tuesday night.
Rovers came up against inspired opposition last weekend. A lowly Bristol Rovers who have had little to cheer about so far this campaign. They travelled in numbers and their players were as fired up as their fans.
Nobody quite knows why Bristol Rovers’ first goal was chalked off. Only the assistant referee will know. From the video replays available it looks a catastrophic decision that ultimately costs the visitors. Was this Blackburn’s fate turning? Finally, a break of good fortune.
Ten second-half minutes told the story of Saturday’s game. Bristol Rovers going in front thanks to a smart finish inside the corner and away from the outstretched David Raya. Followed by a double substitution that saw the introductions of Danny Graham and Dominic Samuel.
Their introductions had an instant impact with Samuel winning a penalty that was converted by captain Mulgrew, and then minutes later seeing Samuel bag a goal of his own, which he seemed to enjoy.
It got nervy and tense as the minute clock ticked away to ninety. To see five minutes go up on the fourth official’s board added to the tension. A smart save from Raya followed by a few desperate clearances and Rovers were home and dry. The first win under Mowbray when Rovers have conceded first.
There’s a real feel-good attitude around the place at the moment. Something we haven’t seen for a very long time. The wins are coming and with that belief is starting to grow. More importantly, the manager is keeping everyone grounded and that’s a very good thing given where we are in the season.
Tuesday night sees Rovers make the short trip to the West coast of Lancashire to face Blackpool. The Seasiders are having a solid season under old boss Gary Bowyer. He, as ever, has recruited well. Putting his trust in players he’s coached previously as well as blooding youth in the Blackpool squad.
They’re relatively strong at the sparse Bloomfield Road, having slipped up twice on home soil all season. It goes to show that Bowyer has his players rooted and learning lessons of the past in getting home form right for a strong season.
Despite an impressive start, Blackpool have fallen to mid-table. It’s one win in their last six league games and have exited the FA Cup early at the hands of non-league opposition, Boreham Wood. They’re going through a sticky patch and that’s something Rovers will look to exploit further.
You don’t have to go back far to see the last time these sides faced each other. It was last season’s FA Cup at the fourth round stage. It will be remembered for Elliott Bennett’s wonder strike in the first half that sent Rovers on to a convincing 2-0 victory on what was Gary Bowyer’s first visit back to Ewood.
The bond that GB had with the Rovers fans is something very rare. Gary was a part of the furniture at Ewood having been at the club so long. Working his way through coaching the youth ranks, to the reserves and then ultimately the first team.
His passion for the football club was unquestionable and although admittedly he came up short tactically, his efforts to getting the football club’s pride back and uniting the club’s fan base is one to be admired.
His highlight will have been the club’s remarkable run in the FA Cup. Beating Premier League sides Swansea City and Stoke City before going on to take Liverpool to a replay at a sell-out Ewood Park. Something that will live with him and the club’s younger fanbase forever.
It has to go on record that when Gary Bowyer took over the job, the club needed its pride back and its supporters. Gary helped everyone do exactly that. For that, we must thank him and hopefully, he will always be welcomed back to Ewood Park as a friend of the football club.
Tuesday night isn’t about that though, Gary is the Blackpool manager and Rovers will be looking at taking the Lancashire spoils.
Tony Mowbray earned his stripes last weekend. The double sub was a great call and was of great effect. The gaffer has spoken about the levels his side are reaching, going on to say that this is very much a different side to the one playing a few weeks ago.
They look hungrier, fitter and the competition for places is really heating up. A competitive squad is what Tony Mowbray wanted and a competitive squad is exactly what he’s getting. It will be the same squad to select from which gives him a very good problem.
Another away game and another opportunity to tribute the record-breaking away followings. Rovers will be a few hundred short of the aggregate away attendance of the whole of last season by the end of Tuesday night.
The support the team have received has been monumental. The players do get a huge buzz when warming up and seeing so many travelling fans. That will be the same at Bloomfield Road as another sell-out away following will hopefully roar their side on to three more points.
In turn, it was fantastic to see such a great atmosphere produced at Ewood Park last weekend. A lot has been said over the difference in atmosphere from away games to home. But, the fans made some noise in that second half just when the players needed it.
Tuesday night will produce another good atmosphere. Another opportunity for the Rovers fans to produce a home-like feel to the game and if Tony Mowbray gets it right again, it should see Rovers make it four straight wins and more room to get very excited as we head into the festive period.
Enjoy the game.
Click here to read our preview ahead of the game.