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View From The Town End: Blackburn v Reading FC

Can Reading make it two wins on the spin by winning up at Blackburn? Rovers blogger Mikey Delap from The Wild Blackburn Rover kindly spared us his time to look ahead to this Blackburn view on such a prospect.

Jan Kruger

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

Mixed.

We've cobbled together enough points to be in a decent position through the medium of inconsistent performances but I'd be lying if I said it has been an impressive ride so far.

At times we've looked slow going forward and all over the place at the back, but there has been the odd glimpse at what could be. A lot of Rovers fans feel we've got a bit more in the locker than we've been showing and there have been signs of an improvement from the metaphorical water we've been treading after the turn around in fortunes Gary Bowyer engineered last term.

You flirted with the play-offs during last year's run-in before fading away late on, do you think you can mount a sustained push this season?

I wouldn't say we faded, Rovers were very strong at the back end of the campaign - if anything we timed the charge too late. But we will need to combat our main problem of inconsistency to make a more convincing push for the top 6.

At the moment, I'd be inclined to say we might just miss out again but where there is time there is always hope. It's a tight division and we are certainly capable.

Do you think you'll be able to hold on to Jordan Rhodes for the rest of this season or beyond?

Yes I would imagine so. Rhodes is untested in the Premier League and perhaps lacks the all round game to excel in the top flight but he is as close to a guarantee of goals in the Championship as there is.

Add into the mix that his value is somewhere around the £12m mark and he'd be viewed as an expensive gamble by any potential suitor from the Premier League.

I'm even more convinced we can hang on to Jordan based on the clubs stance to Hull City in the summer, after wild speculation that he may be off Venky's came out strong with a "no chance" statement and stood firm in front of what must have been immense temptation to cash in.

Any fond memories of games between the two sides?

Very much so - we've had some excellent clashes in recent times.

Off the top of my head I thoroughly enjoyed the 3-3 draw at Ewood Park on the final day of the 2007 season, Matt Derbyshire's flying header in that game was a great sight.

Tugay's screamer past Marcus Hahnemann in our 4-2 win the following season is also well remembered in the catalogue of fantastic finishes from the Turkish delight.

And David Bentley's solo effort at the Madejski was one of the best goals of that season... not to mention Benni McCarthy breaking the record for most offside goals scored in one match (I would imagine).

Any not so fond ones?

Good grief, the less said about last season's deathly dull 0-0 clash at Ewood the better. I managed to twist my wife's arm into joining me for a match on the back of spending some quality time together - it was winter, it was cold, it was rubbish, I had major grief in the car on the way home. Rightly so.

Who aside from Rhodes should Reading fans be worried about on Saturday?

Rudy Gestede and Ben Marshall.

Gestede is a tall, commanding presence in the air with superb heading ability. He's a very good foil for Jordan and based on the last 10 months a more than worthy threat himself. He's been in terrific form ever since being cast off as something of a Cardiff reject.

Marshall has been blowing hot and cold since signing from Leicester last summer but after returning from a long term injury at the start of the season he has been our best player. He's got the tricks and he a very serviceable eye for goal - he's been unplayable at times in recent weeks.

Anyone that Rovers fans aren't looking forward to facing?

I've always been a Jamie Mackie fan for reasons I can't convincingly explain, there is just something about him that I like.

I was also impressed when you managed to get Glenn Murray in on loan too - proven at this level after his run with Crystal Palace.

And Nick Blackman, because facing your former players always screams out "Inevitable goal incoming".

Score prediction?

I am quietly confident with this one but I think I have said that three times so far this season and we've not won any of them - so I'll change that to I am deeply pessimistic about it all!

I'll go 3-1 Rovers.

Murray for Reading and Jordan (x2) and Gestede for Rovers.

Finally any advice for Reading fans making the trip up to Ewood Park?

Yes - set off early ;)

To be slightly more helpful I'd say try using the Golden Cup and Uncle Jack's as a close base to the ground for an away fan drink - you could even potentially use the Fernhurst which is now officially "not for away fans" but on 3 personal appearances in there this season there have been away fans happily purchasing themselves a round... but I'll leave that up to your own discretion there.

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