The Opposition View: Blackburn Rovers

Last updated : 12 February 2018 By Jim Bonner

What's your assessment of Blackburn's season so far and how happy are you?

Our season got off to a poor start, but with only one loss in our last twenty games it's hard not to be quite happy with how things are going. The expectation before the season started was to finish in the top two, and although we aren't quite there yet, we're definitely well in the mix.

What's your view on the overall race for promotion and the quality of League One?

I'm quite surprised it's already essentially a three horse race for promotion with a third of the season to go, I expected it to be quite close until March at least. Apart from the top three I think this division is quite poor, there's no team that I think we'd struggle to beat on paper, apart from maybe Wigan (though unfortunately football is played on grass, not paper, and we like making things hard for ourselves).

Everyone is waiting for Shrewsbury to fall away but fair play to them, they're showing that they can handle the pressure and aren't willing to back down without a fight. Hard to see past ourselves and Wigan for the automatics though; and my money would be on Rotherham going up via the play-offs if I was a betting man.

Who are the key players in the Blackburn squad?

We're lucky enough to have quality all over the pitch, but Bradley Dack has been influential for us, without his play we'd be nowhere near the top of the table; he's got the potential to play in the Premier League.

Our other two players on 12 goals, Danny Graham and Charlie Mulgrew, are also crucial to the side - though the fact we've got a striker, a midfielder and a defender all on 12 goals just goes to show that we aren't too reliant on one player to stick the ball in the net.

What are your team's biggest strengths and weaknesses?

Our main weakness is that our back line is really easily caught out - although Mulgrew may pop up with a goal every other game, he's not been too good at actually defending recently. We're pretty much guaranteed to concede at least one goal every game.

To combat our defensive woes, we're blisteringly good in attack when everything comes together nicely. I'd go as far as to say that we've got an attacking line-up a lot of Championship sides would be proud of. We've scored some amazing team goals this season, one that springs to mind is at Peterborough, the ball went from our own penalty area into the Peterborough net in less than 10 seconds, it was a sensational piece of play.

What kind of match can we expect at Fratton Park and would you take a draw if offered now?

I expect the match to be quite difficult for us, the Pompey faithful are well known for getting behind their team and spurring them on when they're on the back foot and it'll be interesting to see whether our team can cope, I wouldn't have much confidence of seeing out the game if we were 1-0 up with ten minutes left, I'll say that much.

It's a tough one: in isolation I'd say heading back to Lancashire with a point would be a good result, but after only five points from our last four games we could really do with getting back that winning mentality again going into the business end of the season.

Predict the outcome of the game.

Head says 2-1 Pompey, heart says 2-1 Rovers. I'll follow my heart and say we'll edge this one (it's the hope that kills you!).