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Relegation Avoidance League


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Champions League qualification, don’t make me laugh; you can count the number of clubs with qualification aspirations on one hand. The main competition for those clubs from 11th down is the Relegation Avoidance League. Any of the bottom ten clubs could mathematically get pulled into the relegation zone within the next few weeks that is why it is imperative that Rover’s get decent results over the next 6 days before there is another ten day break in fixtures.

Rover’s start this important 6 days with an away game at Middlesbrough tomorrow (Saturday) before they meet Newcastle at Ewood Park next Wednesday 11th February.

Tomorrows game isn’t going to be an easy encounter, as Boro have only lost one of their last ten at home in all competitions and Rovers have recorded only one away win against Boro in the Premier League, although Rovers did come close to a draw last season, before Job scored in injury time. For the statistician’s Rover’s only win against Boro away in 56 years was a 3-1 win in 2002, with goals by Yordi, Cole and Dunn.

Rovers themselves go into the game without a win in 2004, just three points above Leicester and Wolves, and should either of them win and Rovers fail to get a point only goal difference would keep Blackburn out of the relegation zone.

Tomorrows game will be a mile stone for Graeme Souness, as it will be his 100th Premier league game in charge of Rovers.

Tomorrows Squad, .........

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New signing Jon Stead has been included in Blackburn's squad to face Middlesbrough tomorrow.

The 20 year old strker is expected to start on the bench but reports suggest that Souness has indicated that Stead will make an appearance at some point.

However Rovers other signing midfielder Martin Andresen is not match fit and has been excluded from the the squad.

Vratislav Gresko returns from suspension and Craig Short also returns after a hamstring injury.

Rovers squad : Friedel, Enckelman, Short, Babbel, Neill, Gresko, Todd, Flitcroft, Emerton, Gray, Cole, Gallagher, Douglas, Jansen, Stead, Tugay, Yorke, Johansson.

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Middlesbrough will be without the suspended George Boateng and the injured Ugo Ehiogu (groin) and Jonathan Greening (thigh), whilst  Stuart Parnaby (ankle) is a doubtfull starter.  

Middlesbrough : Schwarzer, Mills, Southgate, Riggott, Queudrue, Mendieta, Doriva, Zenden, Downing, Juninho, Maccarone, Job, Ricketts, Cooper, Jones.

REF. Rob Styles.

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