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Blackburn Rovers vs Bolton Wanderers

Wednesday 28th January 2009

Ewood Park

Rovers host our nearest Premiership rivals, Bolton Wanderers, on Wednesday and make no mistake, as well as being a big local derby, this is a must win game for both teams. As such it will either be gung-ho, end-to-end and highly entertaining - or a tight, fearful affair.

Previously on Rovers-Bolton...

A largely unentertaining 0-0 draw was served up at the Reebok in October with a couple of Jason Roberts misses being the "highlights" (although in fairness I probably missed about a quarter of game on the concourse trying to get served over an extended - for me - half time interval). The least said about the game, the better as Rovers didn't manage a single shot to test Jaaskelainen and Bolton managed just the one - a Matt Taylor set-piece. The starting line-up that day included a couple of notable surprises though in the shape of Carlos Villanueava and the infamous Robbie Fowler. That shape being weeble-like. Well at least they wouldn’t fall down...


One of the few good things to happen during the game at Bolton - apart from the clean sheet...

Following a reciprocal price promotion a bumper turnout is expected with up to 7,000 Bolton fans wandering up on a Wednesday night (see what I did there, that's comedy that) and, home fans permitting, this could be Rovers biggest gate of the season. Even then there’s a long way to go to match the crowd at the 6th round FA Cup tie against Wanderers, on 2nd March 1929 which brought 62,522 fans to Ewood Park - still the record attendance and unlikely ever to be bettered (almost double the existing all-seated capacity).

Historically Rovers have had mixed fortunes in this fixture with Bolton edging the overall bragging rights, winning 56 league games compared to Rovers 51. Post war though, we nick it 26-25. Our home record in this fixture though is 38-21 so there are plenty of reasons to be looking forward to this match as a Rovers fan. (Okay, anorak part over).

Big Sam vs. his old club… ;)

Well, since the Reebok game, a new broom has swept through Ewood Park and a new man at the top has brought about a change in form and fortune for Roberts, and his more cultured strike partner Benni McCarthy, with both men contributing 4 goals each under the tutelage of Big Sam and his team. Our defence has been shorn of all things Winterburn and has started to play like the know each other again; Morten and Brett are seeing more of (and doing more with) the ball - although Brett has arguably been our best outfield player since Bentley went on to better himself (oh, hang on...); and Dunn and Grella's respective returns have coincided well with Sam's arrival - although I for one am still doubtful that Ince would have got the best out of them. (Sorry Paul).

Although Sam has yet to play (or even sign - apart from Givet on loan) one of his ‘own men’, he has instilled a fight in the team and an sense of organisation and purpose, and importantly motivation, which was not there previously. Indeed, comparing the Blackburn line-up which faced Bolton at the Reebok to that selected to face Newcastle last week and there are only 3 differences in personnel: Ince started Villanueva, Simpson and Fowler while Allardyce chose Andrews, Pedersen and McCarthy. Admittedly, McCarthy’s non-availability to start was not down to Ince but I doubt it would have mattered, such was the malaise surrounding the club.

Contrastingly, although Bolton have brought in a couple of new faces, and apparently have £12m burning a hole in their proverbial, they are largely in the same boat as Rovers and if Jason had put away at least one of those two chances our league positions would be reversed - still with our game in hand intact. However, despite having a settled manager since the start of the season, they have won only two more games than Rovers and lost three more. Although Bolton are this season’s result specialists with only 2 draws (Rovers and West Brom, both 0-0 at home), their current form is in stark contrast to Rovers’ - during which time their former man has guided us to our best spell this season.

Probable line up for Rovers - based on what looked like players rested against Sunderland:

--------------- Robinson -----------------

Emerton - Samba - Nelsen - Warnock

Dunn -- Grella -- Andrews -- Pedersen

---------- Roberts -- McCarthy ---------

...with Roque either back on the bench or leading the line for Man City against Newcastle. Should he stay, I wouldn't be surprised to see him put in his place by Big Sam. Aside from that, if there's one thing I expect Sam to get right it's how to line up against and how to counter his former charges. We shall see...

What's the score?

With Stoke and West Brom playing on Tuesday (against Spuds and Manure respectively) and Boro away to Chelsea on Wednesday, the bookies would probably have Rovers avoiding going to the bottom of the league and more likely starting to pull clear - still with a game in hand. Although we can't afford to be complacent since there lies our main conundrum at moment: the league is bloody tight this year. Win this game and we can start to breathe a little (very little) easier. Lose and it’s squeaky bum time again. A draw is not much use to anyone - particularly given the rollercoaster of fixtures we are about to get into. I’ve yet to decide if I’d be 'glad' if we are in a similar position come May. I’d like to think that we’ll be well clear by then but if results don’t go our way, then of course I’d still want us to not only still be in touch with teams around us, but also to be in control of our own destiny.

Given the current form of both teams you'd hope that Rovers can turn Bolton over but, having lost count of the number of (team and individual) ducks broken against Rovers, I'm not counting any chickens. On that basis, I'm going to sit on the fence and reserve making a score prediction, save to say that this is what I'm hoping for following the final whistle...


The intention was, and still is, to include a Q&A with a Bolton mate who has agreed to provide some input so I will update the preview as soon as I can.

Come on Rovers! :brfcsmilie:

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What a nice little read, well done mate.

Its wednesday when I get home from work and find no tea is being readied and my daughter not speaking to me, yes they are both Bolton fans, poor souls :rolleyes:

So, when Wednesday arrives its off to work nice and early to ensure that even if overtime beckons I am clear of the office by 6pm at the latest, its a nightmare leaving Preston and will be even more so with the proposed roadworks getting going this coming week.

I am hoping for a simple 1-0 win, more goals would be nice in our for column but thats just being plain greedy.

I totally agree the game will either be an all out attacking frenzy or a boring tactile game, however, I am certain Sam will have his eyes on beating Bolton and taking Rovers up the table. 3 points takes us above them and would leave us nicely placed for the trip to Middlesboro, who surely are there for the taking on Saturday week.

I expect Bolton will have a 4-5-1 attitude, just a point being the limit of their ambitions.

Rovers will no doubt face some up and at em football with Davies leading the line, whilst at the back they have shown too that they are capable of defending, recent games shows a willingness to get behind the ball and defend for their lives.

1 goal will take the points and that I hope will be scored by a player in Blue and White halves (in the right goal of course).

Crowdwise, great offer for the tickets price wise but still dont see 7000 winkers coming to our ground.

27000 1-0 Rovers Sam very very happy :brfcsmilie: (27001 if Waggy makes it)

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  • Backroom

2-0 Rovers i hope although it wont be a walkover I see Benni and Roberts excellent pairing continuing.

Can't remember the last time we had 2 strikers on form at the same time.

Another clean sheet would be lovely.

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Having done some rearranging I have managed to postpone my meeting until Thursday night so I have permission to attend this game - woohoo!!!

I am hoping that this game will be an exciting one with Rovers putting plenty past the Bolton scum but I am thinking that I will take a 1-0 win actually!

Brother is a big Bolton fan so family tensions again!!!

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Good preview. I'm expecting a 1 or 2 -0 win. They're usually pretty tight games. Hopefully we'll get an early goal and it'll be a comfortable stress-free win but we know that's probably not going to happen

On a different note, does anyone know why our home night matches are nearly always 8pm kick offs rather than 7.45? Not a big deal I'm just curious to know if there's a reason, last season was the same.

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1 - Zip, Benni to get on a real roll, now that he's seen the light.

Whats the news on Vin Grella's injury from the Sunderland clash..?

Have a great Australia Day, all you Oz rovers both here and in the UK (or wherever you may be) and of course to Bert and Vinny.

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Good preview. I'm expecting a 1 or 2 -0 win. They're usually pretty tight games. Hopefully we'll get an early goal and it'll be a comfortable stress-free win but we know that's probably not going to happen

On a different note, does anyone know why our home night matches are nearly always 8pm kick offs rather than 7.45? Not a big deal I'm just curious to know if there's a reason, last season was the same.

Better for people like me who have to do parents' evening after school before we can get to ewood. Makes it a late night for kids but better for those who travel or who have to work later.

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massive game this one for both of us. I hope Grella, Dunn and Roberts are back for this one.

i am going for rovers to win 2-1



Oojier Samba Nelson Warnock


Emerton Dunn Gamst

Roberts Benni









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The messageboard is funny:

Bulldozer wrote:

I'll be at the Blackburn game this Wednesday, cant wait.

Can anyone suggest the best way to get to Ewood from Manchester? Its my first away game and I'd rather not get knifed for being the only Bolton supporter among Blackburn fans :lol:

Only him coming then!

More from Bulldozer

Allardyce did alot for the club, and the club did alot for him, his ego, and his image, and his wallet, over and under the table.. The fans stood by him through circumstances many others might not have. His response was to treat us like excrement and now hes at our nearest rivals in the league, talking up beating us. :lol:

Warthogs going to Burnley

warthog wrote:

Got mine today. I'm in with the Dingle, as the view is better. Of the pitch I mean. I'll try and ignore the toothless, hunchbacked, many-fingered hordes that surround me. :lol:

Got Hughsey right though - see the piccie! :lol:


And the game - for my money the biggest of the season - we win we're staying up. We draw - squeak. We loose - desperate times!

2-0 - Elmanders not fit - and we get to sing you're getting sacked in the morning. Whats the odds on a clean sheet now we've signed a whole new defence (which looks the same as before but just can't be).

Is Dunn fit?

Is Grella fit?

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Who'd have thought someone would come up with this quote:

"Basically, they have Jason Roberts, so we're probably going to lose." :P

They've sold 734 tickets as of 20th Jan, well that's according to that MB. Any idea how much they're going to bring down? Bolton Evening News were claiming 7000 were going to come after Rovers slashed the prices.

Grella and Dunn are both expected to be fit.

EDIT: They've sold just under 3500, that's the lower tier, still haven't sold any in the Upper Tier.

EDIT AGAIN: Sold 3900, and have started selling in the Upper Tier, however, Lower isn't fully sold out as yet.

I'm gonna stop with this now :)

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