Match Preview | City vs. Blackburn Rovers
Having vanquished Bristol City on Saturday and all but ended their Play-Off ambitions, Neil Harris’ Bluebirds have the opportunity of taking another top-six-hopeful scalp in Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday evening (kick-off 7.45pm).
Victory for City would take them to 67 points and further enforce their bold Play-Off push. It would also move them 11 points ahead of Blackburn, with just 12 points left to play for thereafter.
Expect Rovers to come at City in search of three points, potentially leaving exploitable defensive gaps as they venture forward.
Tony Mowbray’s Rovers came back to football on June 20th with a resounding 3-1 victory over Bristol City, but since then the Lancashire side have flattered to deceive.
Saturday’s 3-1 home defeat to Leeds United came on the heels of disappointing 2-0 away defeats at Barnsley and Wigan Athletic. With the Tykes and Latics struggling towards the foot of the division, there’s no doubting that Rovers would have identified those fixtures, with respect, as winnable games.
City and Rovers played out a somewhat uninspiring 0-0 draw at Ewood Park back in August, despite the efforts of Lee Tomlin who had begun finding his groove in a blue (or as it was on the day, orange) shirt.
Ones to watch
It’s former Newcastle United starlet, Adam Armstrong, who leads the way in terms of goals for Rovers this season, his strike against Leeds on the weekend his 13th of the campaign to date. Goals have been a little scarce elsewhere with Sam Gallagher (four) just ahead of a handful of others on three, including Danny Graham and former German international Lewis Holtby.
A cruciate injury to Bradley Dack back in December is likely to cost him up to a year of his playing and Blackburn a further goal threat. The former Gillingham maestro had registered an impressive nine times prior to Christmas and an assist.
Elsewhere, veteran 35-time capped England international Stewart Downing will be familiar to most (he actually played for Liverpool against the Bluebirds in the 2012 League Cup final), whilst centre-half Darragh Lenihan makes a sturdy defensive partnership with on loan Man City man Tosin Adarabioyo. Ben Brereton (a £7m signing from Nottingham Forest in January 2019) and Richie Smallwood will miss out through suspension.
In the hot seat
Tony Mowbray has been at the Blackburn helm since February 2017, having taken over from former Rovers boss, Owen Coyle.
The 56-year-old began his coaching career with Ipswich Town in 2002, before a spell at Hibernian preceded his first big appointment at West Bromwich Albion in 2006. He became Celtic manager in 2009 but stayed in Glasgow less than a season before moving onto Middlesbrough the following year. After three years at the Riverside, Mowbray became Coventry City manager in March 2015, with whom he stayed for just over a season. To date, he’s managed 653 professional games, with a win percentage of 41%.
As a player, Mowbray represented three clubs who he would go on to eventually manage: Middlesbrough, Celtic and finally Ipswich Town.