Nothing will be decided with any finality for either side when Rovers host Blackpool in a hugely important league game for the first time in 31 years tomorrow.
But it is practically inarguable that, from a Blackburn viewpoint in any case, the overall mood and frame of mind in which the remainder of the season is approached depends very much on whether the under-fire and under-pressure Steve Kean can somehow conjure up a victory.
Not even a draw, not even the kind of entertaining three apiece it’s easy to imagine with the buccaneering Seasiders in town, would give cause for any great degree of optimism or assuage the fears of a significant majority who are ready to express their simmering discontent at the first portent of impending doom.
The term “must win game” is criminally overused in modern sporting verbiage but I don’t think anyone could be accused of over-hyping the significance of tomorrow’s derby affair by labelling it thus.
The Ewood faithful fully realise that three points against Ian Holloway’s men, while not guaranteed to make us safe, would be a huge step towards a survival target which is so close in some regards but so distant the way we have been performing on and off the field.
If 41 or 42 points is the target, it will still seem a blooming long way off even with 33 on the board tomorrow tea-time.
I expect a noisy, supportive, positive backing for the team and hope it continues throughout however the game develops – and remember that the Tangerines are well capable of a goal or two so Rovers may have to score two or three to win and it could be a game in which the lead changes hands.
After the improvement at Fulham, one would hope that the impetuous Kean doesn’t see fit to make wholesale changes – five and six from match to match is far too much tinkering.
While many have been clamouring to see Rochina and Formica thrown into the mix, I thought it was madness to bring the young Spaniard off the bench at Fulham – he looked shocked by the intensity of it as the game swung from end to end, opened up late on, and lost the ball softly when a wiser head might have run it into a corner and preserved a hard-earned point.
Mauro Formica seems an altogether more mysterious figure.
With 80-odd Argentinean League appearances under his belt it beggars belief that he needs any further acclimatisation, toughening-up or settling-in.
A more disturbing whisper I am hearing this week suggests that after the protracted saga of his signing, he still does not have the requisite documentation to play in the Premier League.
Passport/Work Permit problems are said to be the reason, and as the fellow has not even played a Reserve game before the public thus far – his one game was behind closed doors at Everton’s training ground – this would seem to make sense.
If true, it would look to be another indication that all is not as it should be behind the scenes. It would be the kind of foul-up that might see heads roll at many a club and even the secretary at Whinney Hill wouldn’t last long if he kept signing players who weren’t actually eligible to play. Even if there hadn’t been the costly involvement of a “player’s representative.”
Still, tomorrow is not the time for recriminations and negativity. Let’s subject Blackpool to a susained cauldron of noise and hope that they freeze and lose discipline as they did at Wolves rather than raise their game the way they did at Anfield.
With Blackpool selling out their allocation, it would be grand if the home sections were also filled to capacity even though it’s a Category A priced fixture.
Without a game for a fortnight after this – and then it’s Arsenal away – it’s almost three weeks until the next home game, another crunch match against Birmingham.
If ever there was a time to fork out the ticket price and get down to Ewood this is it – tomorrow’s game could go a long way to deciding Rovers’ foreseeable future.
“Blue-Eyed Boy’s daily thoughts on Rovers, local cricket, music and other matters are now available on a daily basis at http:/blueyedboy.wordpress.com”