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Christmas Fixtures


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Here we go, another festive period, three premier league games in ten days and then the 3rd round of the FA Cup on the first Saturday of 2004.

Traditionally the weekend before Christmas the attendances at football grounds are poor, yet last season Rovers had their biggest gate of the season, when 30,475 supporters made their way to Ewood Park to see Rovers win 1-0 against Manchester United. Somehow I cant see this happening this weekend, neither can I see a similar attendance of 27,536 when Rovers last played Saturdays visitors Aston Villa on Boxing Day in 1998.

With Villa and Rovers on equal points the game on Saturday is a must win for Rovers and with Villa on a high following their defeat of Chelsea in the Carling Cup mid-week, Rovers will need all the support they can get. As they will against Middlesborough, who are currently three places above Rovers in the league.

Good results by Rovers at home over Christmas could kick start their season and give them the confidence for a good FA Cup campaign, when the armchair supporters, who where there for the Manchester United game last Christmas, no doubt will be clambering for tickets.

With the transfer window opening in January, Rovers supporters will be expecting the Ewood Park board to finance manager Graeme Souness in bringing in new players to strengthen the squad, but without the gate receipts there is little doubt that the only signings, if any, will be loan or free transfer players.

The presence of Rovers in the Premier League helps to promote the town of Blackburn and local areas nationally, nay even world wide due to satellite tv coverage, which eventually should help to bring prosperity to the area. Not withstanding that the need for gate receipts are a big issue, Rovers main objective has to be their continued presence in the Premier League and to do this they need the support of the local population. The armchair fans need to get down to Ewood Park and get behind the team, that put the town on the map with a Premier League Championship in 1995 and the Worthington Cup win in 2002.


Blackburn start with a home game on Saturday against Aston Villa, followed by another home game on Boxing day against Middlesbrough, before they travel to St James Park to play Newcastle on the 28th in front of the Sky tv cameras.

What more could the football supporter want, an excuse to avoid being dragged around town on Saturday and a reason to get away from the parents in law and bored kids on Boxing day. Followed by an afternoon in front of the tv on Sunday to get over the turkey and Christmas pudding, unless you feel like testing those new gloves and scarves that you received for Christmas in the North East.

Merry Christmas

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There are no shock inclusions in tomorrows squad to meet Aston Villa at Ewood Park. With only the injured Reid missing from the squad that travelled to Arsenal last weekend.

Aston Villa have doubts about striker Juan Pablo Angel who sustained a back injury in the Carling Cup win over Chelsea and will have a late fitness test.

Blackburn : Friedel, Enckelman, Jansen, Gallagher, Taylor, Johansson, Neill, Ferguson, Emerton, Yorke, Baggio, Tugay, Cole, Babbel, Todd, Gresko, Short, Flitcroft.

Aston Villa : Sorensen, Delaney, Mellberg, Dublin, Johnsen, Samuel, Hendrie, McCann, Whittingham, Barry, Vassell, Angel, Postma, Crouch, Hitzlsperger, S Moore, Ridgewell, Allback.

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