November is possibly the month many will look back on and say that’s where the tables turned. An unforgettable November the likes of which the Rovers fans haven’t seen in a long time.
It’s been magnificent to have been on this journey over the last month. In particular, the last ten days. Four straight wins and now just three points off second place in the Sky Bet League One. It caps off a superb effort from everyone. Tony Mowbray surely will be on the shortlist for manager of the month.
The hard hours on the training field over the last international break have served the players well. They look sharper, hungrier and ultimately are reaching levels nobody has seen previously. It’s taken some time but the signs of Rovers turning the corner are here.
There was almost an arrogance from Rovers last Tuesday night. An arrogance of we’re the bigger team here and like it or not we’re going to win tonight. Despite a slow start, there was no doubt that Mowbray’s men were to run out winners.
Another four goals and a tremendous backing sees Rovers lift themselves into fourth position in what was a pressure match with it being a game in hand. Blackburn Rovers making Tuesday nights great since, well, last Tuesday!
The wins are becoming more consistent and with that, the expectant supporters who have backed their side with tremendous noise, dignity and pride. The fans have been in a league of their own so far this season.
Despite the longer journeys coming up, one would hope the players have done enough to entice the large followings to continue as Rovers head into the festive calendar.
League action takes a break this coming weekend as Rovers face off with Crewe Alexandra in the Emirates FA Cup Second Round. In a game which both sides will be aiming to win as they eye a potential money tie in the next round.
Crewe will be hoping for some joy as their torrid form continues. A side that historically have competed in the second tier of the Football League are struggling at the basement of the football league itself.
Their last win coming on their last visit to Lancashire with a Tuesday night win over Morecambe. Two wins in their last eight in all competitions which suggest the tough times are to continue at the Alexandra Stadium (also known as Gresty Road).
Crewe are opposition to be wary of. After all they did complete a mini scalp at the first round stage. Dramatically beating Rotherham United with an eighty-ninth minute Callum Ainley strike. A result nobody could see coming given The Millers’ form so far this season.
Rovers have seen at first hand that they can’t take the Railway Men too lightly. It was only last season when the two sides met at the first round in the EFL Cup. Which was a dramatic game to say the least.
Rovers finding themselves 0-2 down in the first half then came back to level at 2-2. Rovers then thought they had clinched it with an eighty-eighth-minute goal from Craig Conway that was before Chris Dagnall forced extra time when he netted in injury time.
The infamous Shane Duffy netted the winner seven minutes into injury time to give then Rovers boss Owen Coyle his first win for the club. A crazy game that these early stages of cup competition can throw up.
Crewe’s gaffer David Artell has confirmed his side will not park the bus when they face off at Ewood. He wants his side to show their qualities in being brave and expansive within their play. To say Crewe lose matches they do score goals.
The Railway Men haven’t failed score since mid-October and just recently halted a free-scoring Luton Town to just two goals last weekend. They’ll see Sunday as a big game and an opportunity to break away from some poor league form.
Mowbray’s men will be looking to avoid everything like that. They’ll want to go unnoticed and will want to be as clinical as possible come Sunday afternoon.
Tony Mowbray has confirmed that there will be some changes to the Rovers side. Saying that some senior players have certainly earned a rest from their effort over the last fortnight or so. The form players will be dropped in preparation for a huge game at Peterborough next week.
In balance, it’s likely the gaffer will still name senior players. Those that haven’t played too much football are likely to start as well as those players who are close to coming back from injury. Either way, it will be a side good enough to progress into the third round of the competition.
As ever, it’s an opportuni\ty for those fringe players to impress and to be in the manager’s thoughts when he comes to selecting teams in what is a very busy month. The chance is there and this might be one of few chances those players have.
Everyone will be wanting to avoid the performance of the opening hour against Barnet in the first round. The manager went on record as saying he was emotional at half-time and felt let down by a lot of guys as Rovers managed to pull it back with three goals late on to progress.
Momentum is up at the moment. It’s something everyone will want to keep going and progression to the third round of the FA Cup would certainly do that. It would give more reason for excitement as everyone will be dreaming of their perfect tie as the draw takes place.
It will take hard work, determination and endeavour but with the correct attitude, Rovers should be sitting comfortably in the hat for the third round.
Enjoy the game.