View From The Town End: Blackburn

Alex Livesey

So after two weeks mulling over a draw with QPR, Reading return to action with a trip to Blackburn. Six years ago it was a ground that saw Reading fall a goal short of the UEFA Cup, while Blackburn made the Inter-Toto... now both sides are very much rebuilding and desperately trying to get back into the bigtime. Ahead of the game, Rovers blogger Mikey Delap from The Wild Blackburn Rover kindly spared us his time to look ahead to this weekend's game.

How would you sum up Blackburn's season so far?

One word - Mixed. Ok, so I'll probably need to expand a little. It's so far been a very inconsistent ride on the field with a few very cohesive and hard working performances twinned with some uninspiring, lacklustre efforts but we still find ourselves in a decent enough mid-table spot which I would say just about numerically sums up our efforts so far accurately.

We've been unlucky with injuries to key players and we're still paying the price for last season but we have got better. I still think we'll improve gradually as the season wears on too.

Fan protests against the ownership have continued throughout the past few years, is there any end in sight to the backroom problems at the club?

The short answer is no.

The long answer is that we now have a manager in place (Gary Bowyer) who at least has something in the way of a strategy to combat the difficult balancing act this season has brought about... Due to the massive overspend of last season Bowyer has the unenviable task of getting together a better squad with a realistic shot at promotion whilst severely cutting costs on the flip side.

It's not exactly what you would call easy, and with debts now over £50m on a reduced Championship income it's a long way back to anything approaching stability.

Sadly the main overriding problem is that we still have the same clowns dotted around the show, most of whom are sat in Pune in India taking any advice they see fit rather than, you know, actually doing something more hands on themselves. Venky's have spent all this money, been sold down the river by agents, Steve Kean and a whole host of other entities and are still seemingly unable to learn anything from their mistakes.

And would you really trust our owners given their ability to appoint under-qualified fools such as Shebby Singh to important roles within a football club?

Despite this long moan, yes there is a way back and I do believe we've at least attempted to turn a corner - but we're still being guided by the same folk who got is unto this epic mess in the first place. So it's far from certain we'll make it back in one piece.

Any fond memories of Blackburn v Reading?

Certainly recently yes, quite a few actually.

I remember our 2-1 win at the Madejski settled by the then excellent now rubbish David Bentley's excellent winner.

I also remember the 3-3 draw on the final day of the season which bagged us an Intertoto Cup spot... remember that little competition?

And finally I'm not going to forget our 4-2 victory at Ewood either, with Tugay's smashing long ranger and Roque Santa Cruz/Benni McCarthy looking like dynamite on the day either.

Any not so fond ones?

Benni McCarthy deciding to live in the total isolation of the offside world for the first hour of that Madesjski game. That was more frustrating than listening to my wife talking about the Great British Bake Off for an hour last week.

We all know Jordan Rhodes will be a threat at the weekend if fit, but who else should Reading fans be wary of?

Now that would be telling wouldn't it... ;)

It's doubtful Ruben Rochina will be back from his injury lay off just yet so I'll knock that one on the head, but certainly Thomas Cairney can be handy with his educated pair of feet and decent dead ball skills. I;d also keep an eye on Josh King who is not the most refined player you'll ever see, quite the contrary he is a clumsy soul at the best of times - but he is lightning fast.

Other than that, possibly David Dunn if he lasts more than 7 minutes on the field before pulling his hamstring.

Anyone in the Reading team you're not looking forward to facing?

Pavel Pogrebnyak. Made a slightly less than favourable comment about Rovers back in the day when we were, erm, quite good so it is nailed he'll score at some stage.

Not too thrilled about the threat Danny Guthrie and Royston Drenthe carry either, they always seem like very tricky players when I've seen them.

Oh and we have a horrible knack of former players scoring against us so please keep Nick Blackman off the field at all times, thanks in advance.

Score predictions?

I'm a shameless optimist so you'd get a home win prediction if we played Real Madrid at home, so I'll stick to my guns here and go 1-0 to Rovers, I think it'll be tight. But we'll win. I hope.

Any tips for Reading fans heading up to Ewood Park?

Yes we're in the main a friendly bunch, despite what the general media have portrayed us as over the last few years so don't be shy. Parking is pretty steady round the ground as you head up the hill from the McDonalds across the road from Ewood and up to the top.

The Brown Cow and White Bull pubs on Livesey Branch Road aren't strictly for away fans but are pretty accommodating since the Fernhurst Arms pub stopped opening for away fans a while back.

Other than that just enjoy yourselves, but not too much obviously!

Thanks again to Mikey and you can follow him on twitter @MikeyDelap

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