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Rovers in the Spotlight. Updated 16.1.04


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Manchester City v Blackburn Rovers Match Preview.

By jim mk2

If rumours of Kevin Keegan's impending resignation and Graeme Souness's difficulties were not enough, the arrival of England goalkeeper David James at Manchester City should ensure a media frenzy for Saturday's match with Blackburn at Eastlands. We might even get more than our alloted 60-second slot on ITV's Premiership programme.

One way or another, it could be the defining match of the season for the managers of both clubs. With City being sucked into the relegation fight after a disastrous run of 10 league games without a win, and Rovers in poor form, the match takes on great significance for the futures of both Keegan and  Souness. Defeat could see either of them walk the plank, either pushed or of their own accord.

In many ways, City's - and Keegan's - situation is worse than ours. Their 3-2 win at Ewood back in August put them top of the league; even in November they were in the top six, but their decline since then has gathered pace. Keegan himself has admitted that he is under threat of dismissal if he cannot arrest the slide and, as England fans know, he is not a man to hang around in a crisis. Defeat by Rovers, and good results for Portsmouth and Leicester, would put City in the bottom three, possibly pushing Keegan over the edge and out of the club.

For Souness, defeat would be a huge blow.  Publically, he has maintained a brave face, blaming poor results and performances on bad luck. Privately, however, he must be in despair and does not appear to know how to turn the club's fortunes around. Another bad result at City, could convince him to give up the struggle according to some supporters.

Rovers have sold out their allocation of tickets, for this game.

Link here to Discuss Pre-View and Predictions

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With 48 hours to go before the game, Rover have a number of injury problems, so once again Souness could have selection problems, especially in defence.

Reports this morning indicate that on top of Andy Todd being suspended there is injury worries to Craig Short, Lucas Neill and Paul Gallagher.

Meanwhile Steven Reid and Alan Mahon are recovering and could be in contention and Gary Flitcroft is available after suspension.

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Craig Short and Steven Reid have failed the race to be fit for the game, and, Neill and Gallagher are 50/50.

Squad named 16.1.2004

Friedel, Enckelman, Babbel, Taylor, Neill, Johansson, Gallagher, Tugay, Flitcroft, Douglas, Danns, Emerton, Mahon, Cole, Yorke, Gresko, Donnelly, Jansen.

Man City squad. James, Ellegaard, Distin, Dunne, Sommeil, Wiekens, Jihai, Bosvelt, McManaman, Sinclair, Reyna, Wright-Phillips, Tarnat, Tiatto, Sibierski, Barton, Anelka, Macken.

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