Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday April 17 2009
18th April 2009
Yet another crucial match with Rovers making their first ever trip to the Brit. Big Sam's men crashed to a 4-0 defeat at Anfield last Saturday but didn't have a recognised striker with illness and injury decimating the front line. They'll have Diouf back now to bolster the front line but this is a game that we should be looking to go out and get all three points - just don't expect it to be easy...
Sam Allardyce has a similar reputation as Tony Pulis for a combative style of play and tomorrow's game will not be pretty. But at this point in the season even West Brazil would swap places with the Potters and Pulis knows that there is no room yet for complacency: 'There are still six games to go and it is so tight down there that almost anything can happen. We've emphasised to the players that they need to keep their foot on full gas but, in fairness to them, they know the score.'
James Beattie will play with 12 stitches he gained in the clash with Newcastle last weekend and so it's likely to be the same starting eleven for the third match in a row.
Beatts had to be substituted last weekend after the head wound was causing him difficulty, but will be more than ready to face his old club and home town supporters.
Rovers suffered last week with no recognised strikers. They now have El Hadji Diouf back from illness but Roque Santa Cruz is injured. Pedersen will return from injury but it still leaves Brett Emerton and Steven Reid out with knee injuries and Jason Roberts is sidelined with a broken metatarsal.
Diouf signed for Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee on 30 January 2009 after just 6 months at the Stadium of Light, rejoining his former Bolton manager at Ewood Park. But his single goal in seven games doesn't compare favourably with Beatts' six in eleven.
Howard Webb. A decent referee so, with luck, we won't be talking about any controversial decisions.
Saturday 25th April: Fulham (away) kick-off: 3pm
Date:Friday April 17 2009
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Ref Watch: Marriner to officiate Man City v Stoke City (Tuesday April 19 2016)
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