Thursday, 27 September 2012

Next... Blackburn at home

Following on from a win against one of the only two teams below us in the table we now entertain one of the favourites to win the division. I don't think that Ipswich will be relegated, personally, but I am confident that we will not see them finish above Blackburn this season, nor do I think they will be above them at all between now and May.

Blackburn, with their squad and signings this summer, should be far too good for an extended stay in this division. They are my (and many bookies) favourite for promotion this season. They are a good example, in fact, of how the Premier League money makes the competition in the second division unhealthy. The rumoured wages that they have agreed to pay Danny Murphy (who was signed after they were relegated), make most players in the division look like paupers.

With their first league defeat of the season last Friday Blackburn fell from top to third. Their results have been what I would have expected from them based on the strength of their squad. I have no idea how good a manager Steve Kean is, but there is no doubt that he has been under constant pressure ever since he took over, so I find it a little difficult to judge him. I am not just talking about the pressure of having a poor squad (for the Premier League) but he has been suffering at the hands of the fans for as long as I can remember.

I have no real interest in what actually happened at Blackburn, Sam Allardyce has more than his fair share of controversy, and if he didn't want to use the agents that the new owners wanted him to then I don't see any reason as to why they shouldn't have selected a new manager. However, these are all just allegations, and as I've said I'm not interested in them. What is without doubt, however, is that until the fans back Kean or the new owners replace him they are going to have more to contend with than is ideal.

With that in mind there are suggestions that Kean might be removed if they fail to beat us this Saturday. Ironically, at this point, I don't think it helps the manager or the team having this kind of situation on an ongoing basis, and inevitably in the end they will have to deal with it. the usual vote of confidence was given this week, but as Kean has already had several of these and survived they might just mean it.

Hopefully the pressure that the latest rumours put on the team will work in our favour. On the balance of the squad strength I wouldn't normally fancy us to take anything from Blackburn, home or away. I'm not sure the home crowd is of much benefit to them right now, but they have won one and drawn two of their three away games this season, so it is not a foregone conclusion.

With Kermorgant out injured I agree with Dave and think that this might not be the total disaster that some are saying. I think he has been less influential this season, and I think the step up has been responsible for that. I'm not saying that I'm glad he is out for three months (which I fear could well be longer) but that I'm not shaking in my boots at the thought of having to play a dozen or so games without him.

Fuller will, no doubt, start with BWP, and I'm looking forward to getting a good look at him. I also think that Jackson might be unable to really hold down a place on the wing in this division, so I'm happy to have him move into the middle. I do feel for Hollands as he has never let us down, but I suspect his time will come - it is a long season.

With the issues Blackburn have, along with us coming into this game on the back of our first away win of the season (we only won two away all season last time we were in this division) I am confident that the game will be close enough if us to be disappointed if we lose. I'm not sure we will be strong enough to tale all three points, but I'm going to go for a 1-1 draw. I'd be more than happy with that.

Up the Addicks!

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