Blackburn Rovers 1 Wolves 1

Ironic that Blackburn Rovers fans were the ones staying away from Ewood Park while ours were subjected to Danny Batth, Jed Wallace, David Edwards, Conor Coady and co on the pitch.

This team, in disgusting green shirts, produced yet another vomit inducing performance to hopefully spell out to Fosun what Jeff Shi might have been denial over until 7.30pm last night.

Namely, that we are in a relegation fight.

We can deliberate how it ever got to this stage – after finally banishing Morgan and Moxey and pumping millions into the side – but it’s better to get our heads around it and start scrapping from here on in.

With Jorge Mendes’ grubby influence casting a shadow around the club – coupled with our inability to shift the deadwood that cost Jackett his job – and it’s doubtful a new manager would fare too much better anyway.

In this instance, Rob Edwards did ok. While I’ll never agree with Dave Edwards and Conor Coady in a three man midfield, his subs were at least positive and made some sort of impression. Eventually, we will probably play Costa, Texeira and Caveleiro in the same team from the start in a 4-2-3-1, which is patently the best solution for this hare-brained squad and the one we’ve all be calling for. (Heck, Jack Price might even make the bench when fit, too.)

Getting the job on a full time basis would be a major comedown from the early days when Fosun got the party started and promised world domination, though.

A new manager isn’t the biggest issue anyway right now. More pressing is the structure of the club itself, where literally nobody will take any responsibility for signing Paul Gladon and Ola John and a clear conflict of interest remains with Mendes, his clients and the stake he owns in Fosun.

While his mucky hands remain on the tiller, there may be more choppy waters ahead.

Whatever direction we will be heading, the journey is sure to be memorable. The tripe served up on the pitch like that up at Ewood Park, less so.

Blackburn Rovers Vs Wolves Preview

The Championship is ridiculous.

 

Although I wasn’t surprised or bothered about Walter Zenga being ejected, it’s amazing how quickly things unravel in this division.

To think just five games previous we were a point outside the play-offs with a game to come against the league’s bottom side and everything looking rosy.

And even within those five matches, it’s not a stretch to say we could easily have avoided defeat at Wigan and won at Villa park, which would still have seen us within one victory of the top six.

But I think the consensus in football, rightly or wrongly, is ‘nearly isn’t good enough’. And Wolves have been nearly for too much of this season.

Blackburn

Blackburn-Rovers-iconRovers looked dead and buried after the first five games or so, but credit to Owen Coyle for showing signs of turning it around.

I think he’s recruited well, particularly up front. Bringing in Marvin Emnes, Danny Graham and young Southampton forward Sam Gallagher has given them an edge. The three have 10 goals between them already.

Conway and Marshall are two very strong Championship midfielders too, so the supply line is there for those forwards to thrive.

Survival is a good achievement for them as they’re going nowhere fast under the current ownership. In my darkest moments, it’s the direction I fear we could be heading.

Their fans are planning to arrive 18 minutes into the game and leave after 75 minutes in protest against Venky’s on Saturday, which promises to create a strange environment.

Wolves

So what will Rob Edwards do? It’s always very interesting to see how a coach responds when given the opportunity to step up.

wolves-team-for-blackburn

He’s been in and around the team all season so will no doubt have his own thoughts about who should and shouldn’t be playing and a preferred system.

I look at this group of Wolves players and think it’s about finding that balance between work rate / physical power and technical ability.

Packing out the midfield with at least two grafters (in the above instance Edwards and Coady) and then trying to get the likes of Costa and Teixeira playing off Bodvarsson is how I would approach this game.

It will also be fascinating to see if Edwards brings anyone in from the cold like Price, Saville, John or Wallace, who’ve barely featured in recent weeks.

Rob Edwards

Predictions

Like Rob Edwards, I also think Blackburn are in a false position based on recent performances. This will be a very tough game.

My concern is they could prove a bit more streetwise than Wolves, depending on the team the caretaker sends out. And in a tight game, that’s often the difference.

But I’m hoping we get a few more per cent out of our better players going forward to ask questions ourselves.

I’ll go for a score draw – 2-2.

Up The Wolves!

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Wolves 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

There was a time when emulating Man Utd equated to something rather good.

Wolves Blackburn

Sadly, the modern day translation is a long sequence of horrible, scoreless encounters played out in front of an agitated home crowd.

Our own little theatre of dreams.

On the plus side, many of us can look back on this season of six stalemates (and counting) and proudly declare ‘I was there’.

Much like Chorley, the great collapse of 2002 or that five goal blitzkrieg suffered at the hands of Odemwingie and co, it’s a badge of honour to have been present and accounted for in times of misery.

But seriously, we should just move on.

Today proved that however Kenny Jackett shuffles the pack (with one obvious caveat), you’re not going to get this squad playing attractive, free-flowing football.

Joe Mason was a ghost, Adam Le Fondre predictably ineffective and our attacking play as toothless as it’s been since Jordan Graham’s season was prematurely ended.

451, 442, that doesn’t matter either. This team just doesn’t have the personnel, creativity or cutting edge to get it done.

We have three players who would liven things up. Two are still on the treatment table and the third has been inexplicably exiled.

And it’s Kevin McDonald’s continued absence I simply cannot reconcile with every turgid passing minute.

I want to believe he’s broken the rules or is hankering for an exit, because to leave him out for tactical reasons defies all logic.

What you can’t argue with is that the midfield has been more compact, organised and well drilled of late.

And combined with a settled back four and a goalkeeper rediscovering his best form, goals haven’t been going in at the wrong end either.

Sadly though, supporters don’t place value on a strong defence and performances are nearly always evaluated solely on what a team does with the ball.

I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong either, because sport is supposed to be entertainment.

And despite now being six games undefeated, we are anything but entertained.

Wolves Vs Blackburn Rovers Preview

Tuesday’s win restored the equilibrium.

Blackburn Wolves

Thanks to George and Jack, Wolves are 12 points off the play-offs and the same margin clear of the bottom three.

Now that’s what I call midtable.

In fact the game itself was our season in a nutshell, which is to say shockingly poor for long periods punctuated by spells of hope and promise. And one seriously horrific injury.

Blackburn

Blackburn-Rovers-iconIt would take an unlikely sequence of results for Blackburn to get dragged into trouble, but another win will extinguish any lingering doubts.

Paul Lambert brought the new manager bounce after replacing Gary Bowyer, but things quickly got tougher and they’re more or less back where they started.

They haven’t scored many goals this season, which is little surprise given the departure of Messrs Gestede and Rhodes.

Like Wolves, it must be frustrating for Rovers fans as they looked to have the makings of a good team last season, but key players have left and the remainder have struggled to find consistency.

As an outsider looking in, I’m not sure they’re heading in the right direction, but if they can scrape together a few quid I wouldn’t be surprised if Lambert turned it around.

Wolves

That tackle on Zyro was appalling. What makes it worse is the lack of public acknowledgement from either Karl Robinson or the swine who inflicted the pain.

Team for Blackburn

It’s ruthlessly bad luck for the big Pole who’ll likely miss the whole of next season even if things go to plan.

Adam Le Fondre took his opportunity with a lively second half cameo and the returning James Henry laid on both goals.

Whatever your opinion on Henry, he’s consistently provided or scored goals throughout his Wolves career.

I’m not sure you’d pin your hopes on him individually for a 46 game promotion push, but looking at our current squad, he’s a nailed on starter for me.

The gaffer

Predictions

We’ve been solid but far from spectacular so the only thing you’d feel safe predicting is a solid but unspectacular performance.

That might be enough to account for a struggling Blackburn team, who’ve lost four of their last five matches.

And given that they’re among the worst away sides in the Championship, I’ll back us to get another narrow win.

2-1

Up The Wolves!

Blackburn Rovers 1 Wolves 2

The new season underway at last with a long day out and trip over the Pennines for me.

Wolves celebrate

I was hoping for more of the form I saw in flashes at Doncaster the previous week, while speaking to a few Blackburn fans on the train they were not optimistic of their team’s fortunes given their financial restrictions, a point majored on by their manager in the match programme.

This was a good game though with two well matched sides happy to sit back, soak up pressure and try to hit their opponents on the break.

The home side started brightly with most of their play, predictably, with long balls to their new right winger signed from Blackpool with height advantage over Golbourne.

Despite a cracking long range strike from Rhodes which hit Ikeme’s right post, and a free header which he superbly tipped over the bar, there was no reward for the early pressure.

Wolves grew into the game, with Coady and Afobe the pick of an excellent all round team performance.

Coady gives us an extra dimension in midfield, so defensively we were very solid and able to press the home side high up the pitch.

Afobe finished in style from a clever headed through ball from Edwards, and we were then very unlucky with the home side’s equaliser.

From a good Iorfa block on the edge of the box, the ball spun viciously high and over our keeper who backtracking could only palm into the roof of the net.

How would the lads respond, well by going back on the attack with another well worked team goal, and with a deserved half time lead, it was time for the fans to enjoy another `concourse party` under the stand.

Saw many taking images – hope some get posted on here.

Apart from the last 5 minutes when the home side bombarded our goal with high balls, which were dealt with superbly by our defence, , there were no more scares in a second half which I thought Wolves dominated and deservedly got the three points.

So a great day out for the 4000 or so traveling black & gold army.

Many of whom will recall the last time we won a season opener at Ewood by the same score. However KJ has a side much improved on last year, a better squad playing a system with our full backs bombing on.

This was a very solid team performance overall, and a very welcome three points.

Maybe Steve Morgan`s assertion that this season we are ready to step up may not be far off the mark. A great start to the new season, and a very happy journey home last night.

Highlights

Blackburn Rovers Vs Wolves Preview

There only ever seems to be a wafer thin line between confidence and a crisis in football.

Blackburn

It was full on meltdown last week with a tumbleweed rolling passed Compton Park and Michael Jacobs packing his bags for Wigan.

But as Kenny and co depart for Ewood Park tomorrow, morale in the wider Wolves camp couldn’t be higher as we reflect on what was probably the perfect preseason.

Undefeated in six matches, four new signings and with another handful of promising academy prospects rolling off the conveyor belt, could things have gone much better?

Whatever your opinion on that, I don’t think many would disagree that we line up at the starting gate in more than adequate condition for the 46 challenges that lie ahead.

If we were cautiously optimistic last August, we’re battle hardened and expectant this time around. And it’s that expectancy that could prove the toughest hurdle of all.

Blackburn

Blackburn-Rovers-iconBlackburn haven’t had things so easy over the summer months with Gary Bowyer hamstrung by a transfer embargo and key players jumping ship.

Rudy Gestede has already departed for Aston Villa, while fellow talisman Jordan Rhodes looks desperate to push through a move to big spending Middlesbrough.

41 of their 66 goals last season came from their star strikers, so the prospect of losing both and relying on free transfers to plug the hole suggests a tough season ahead.

Rovers, like Bolton, like Notts Forest and like many others in the Championship are handicapped by a lack of financial firepower having previously spent and failed in their attempts to climb out of this debilitating league.

Their situation highlights why Wolves’ ‘steady as she goes’ approach is undoubtedly the more sustainable model for continual progress.

Wolves

It’s interesting to see how Kenny Jackett has built and evolved his squad over three summers. There have been consistent performers, but always complemented by a pleasing injection of new blood.

Wolves team for Blackburn

With Danny Batth injured, the back four seems certain to be built on the experience of Richard Stearman, the steadiness of Scott Golbourne and the raw potential of Kortney Hause and Dominic Iorfa.

A narrower midfield anchored by Conor Coady and Kevin McDonald is likely to also incorporate the energy of Dave Edwards with natural width provided by either James Henry or Rajiv van La Parra. Henry seems a more likely bet.

The front two pick themselves, despite the arrival of Adam le Fondre and their continued availability over the season will be crucial. When they play, goals seem inevitable.

If the above XI plays as expected that still leaves the likes of Batth, Doherty, Price, Wallace, Ojo and Le Fondre waiting in the wings and providing the necessary depth to go the distance.

Predictions

The Prediction League is back for another season. Test yourself against fellow supporters to see how your expectations tally with reality.

It’s 2 points if you predict the correct outcome and 3 points if you get the correct score. Simply leave your prediction in the comment section below in the boxes indicated. Best of luck!

A note of caution: You must always use the same email address to comment and leave your predictions in every preview. Your email address is what ties you to your overall score in the table.

As for me, I’m predicting a draw. We’ve won on our last three visits to Ewood Park but starting as the away side on opening day is normally tough and I think they’ll play above themselves.

If Jordan Rhodes starts, he’ll pose a significant threat and be ably supported by Conway and Marshall who are also both very good players.

1-1

Here’s to a great season.

Up The Wolves!