Mowbray’s men will look to get that winning feeling back this weekend as Rovers and Portsmouth clash for the first time since April 2010.
Tony Mowbray was impressed with a much improved performance against Plymouth in midweek. Playing higher up the pitch and creating many opportunities was pleasing. Despite the result not showing it.
Only Ben Gladwin will know how Rovers weren’t celebrating a dramatic 94th minute winner. A pin drop could have been heard at Ewood as his effort was blocked with the ball sitting on top of the net rather than in it.
Times move quickly in football and Rovers must take the point and move on. Any point that feels more precious to the opponent rather than yourself will always be frustrating. But, a touch of overreaction crept in again as supporters reacted to the 1-1 draw.
A game lost and a game drawn is not what anyone was expecting from the last week or so but it’s hardly the end of Rovers hopes. The Ewood faithful booed on the final whistle on Tuesday. A huge surprise to many an ear.
The manager put a plan together, to play higher up the pitch, to create more chances and to score goals. This, on the whole was executed well. The players worked for every yard out there. Their desire was there for all to see and were frustrated as every Rovers fan leaving that ground.
Many can understand booing players off to show frustration on how a side has performed. For example, if there was no heart, passion or desire. If a team have performed so miserably then yes, I can condone it.
What we saw was every single player dead on their feet. They ran themselves in to the ground and gave everything in that game. Granted, not everything came off for them but you couldn’t question their desire. Knee jerk reactions aren’t warranted and won’t help the players one bit.
The bottom line is, everyone wanted stability. We have that with Tony Mowbray in charge. This project is very personal, he’s desperate for the football club to be successful under his leadership. He must feel the backing of the supporters.
The Ewood crowd have to lift the players just as much as the players must lift the crowd. It’s a two way street in that sense. When the players are going through a tough patch, such as the one we’re seeing at the moment, they need they fans with them through every yard.
Take the Plymouth Argyle fans as an example. Bottom of the division yet the 400 strong support sang their way through the match. Through the good parts and bad. Their players knew they had them with them and it was something to be admired.
Backing is imperative whether winning, drawing or losing. If the football club are to be successful, the player fan bond must be stronger than ever. That’s something to take forward in to future games, particularly at Ewood Park.
Saturday’s game will be rather different. It will be fascinating to see how Kenny Jackett sets up his side. He’s been fairly versatile in setting up his team so far this season. They can go open playing in an expansive way or sit deep and be stronger in numbers.
Pompey have been in great form, a hat-trick of wins before going down to Doncaster in mid week with ten men. They won’t let that phase them and will relish the opportunity to get back to winning ways.
The last meeting between both sides was back in April 2010 it was a 0-0 draw and will be known as the match where Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday pundit Chris Kamara missed Anthony Vanden Borre’s sending off. Claiming that he thought it was just a sub!
The game will also see some sibling rivalry as Rovers midfielder Elliott Bennett will go up against his brother Kyle, who has been a regular in the Portsmouth side so far this season.
Pompey are very much middle of the road. Brilliant one week, very poor the next. It’s six wins and six defeats in the league this season along with two draws. They sit in 11th position after a slow start, with just goal difference puts Rovers a place above them going in to Saturday.
Portsmouth are high scorers, matching the goalscoring tallies of the form teams at the top of League One. They’re no mugs and neither is their experienced manager Kenny Jacket.
It was a surprise to see Paul Cook leave Fratton Park for pastures new after such a successful promotion season last year but Portsmouth have benefitted in having such experience at the helm.
There will be a lot of experience in both technical areas come 3pm on Saturday and without a doubt there’s an argument that the better tactician might prove to be the winning manager.
This is a crucial game for Rovers. Since returning from the international break, they haven’t won. It’s so important that Mowbray’s men get a win under their belts going in to an even bigger head-to-head game next weekend at Wigan.
When a manager’s side isn’t winning football matches, pressure becomes a part of it. Tony Mowbray knows the pressure is on him and the team to deliver and it’s imperative that the Ewood faithful are sent away with a winning feeling.
Fail to deliver three points on Saturday and the feeling of back-to-back home wins just a few short weeks ago will become a thing of distant memory. Rovers aren’t in the worse position but must start to close the gap on the in-form pack of the division.
Saturday will be a fascinating game for all the reasons above and one everyone should be looking forward to. An opportunity to make a statement of intent as we approach a decisive period in the football league season.
Enjoy the game.
Thanks for reading this article, You can read the rest of our preview by clicking the relative link below.
Click here to read Rovers v Portsmouth – Match Review
Click here to read Portsmouth Fan Preview – Jake Smith
We have also released Episode 6 of our 1875 Podcast. You can find the episode by clicking the link below.
Click to see Episode 6 of the 1875 Podcast.