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Blackburn Rovers – The Scout Report

Newcastle United could make it nine victories in a row with a win over the visiting Rovers side this weekend, and with the Lancashire club struggling at the wrong end of the table, one wouldn’t bet against United extending their lead at the top.
Blackburn Rovers – A Factfile
Founded: 1875
Nickname: Rovers
Stadium: Ewood Park (31,367 capacity)
Manager: Owen Coyle
2015-16: 15th, Championship
Major Honours: First Division/Premier League (1911-12, 1913-14, 1994-95), FA Cup (Six times), League Cup (2002)

Notable Signings

Danny Graham – ST – Ageing forward Danny Graham is no stranger to the Championship, having plied his trade in the league for much of his career. Formerly a Premier League striker with Sunderland and Swansea City, Graham proved less successful in front of goal at the top level. However, Graham has notched a few goals so far this season and could be a goal threat with the right service.
Charlie Mulgrew – CB – Former Celtic man and Scotland international Mulgrew is primarily a centre-back nowadays but can still operate adeptly at full-back. Known for his prowess at set-pieces and long range strikes, Mulgrew could very well be a goal threat from these situations.
Notable Departures

Grant Hanley – CB – Newcastle United snapped up the Scottish centre-back enforcer in the summer for around £5.5mn. Rovers were reluctant to sell considering Hanley helped underpin the Blackburn defence for a number of years, however the sizeable fee was too good to turn down. Rovers’ demise in league position could partly be attributed to Hanley’s loss in defence.
Shane Duffy – CB – Another member of the 2015-16 squad that helped to fend off relegation to the third tier of English football, Duffy’s partnership with Hanley was one of the very few positives from Rovers’ last campaign. Losing Duffy to Brighton late on in the transfer window was not ideal as it only allowed Coyle a small window to bring in a halfway adequate replacement. Losing their key centre-back pairing could be crucial.
Key Players
Sam Gallagher – ST – Young loanee Gallagher is on a season-long deal from Southampton. Gallagher endured a short and unsuccessful period at MK Dons before sealing a temporary move to Blackburn in the summer. He has hit the ground running however, averaging a goal every two games in all competitions. His contributions have been vital to ensuring Blackburn aren’t rooted to the foot of the Championship table.
Craig Conway – RW/LW – Since arriving at Ewood Park in 2014, Conway has managed to remain relatively injury-free and appear on over 100 occasions for Blackburn, scoring 12 times in the process. One of Blackburn’s most consistent performers over the past couple of years and deemed as a man playing beneath himself, in a team lacking the spirit he embodies with his creativity and consistency.
Jason Lowe – RB/CM – Local lad Jason Lowe is only 25 years old yet captains Blackburn, having made over 150 appearances for the club since his debut in 2010. A product of the youth academy, Lowe is an aggressive but strong, defensive full-back, and can also play in the centre of midfield, dictating the tempo of play and marshalling his players around him. The captaincy is always a big role but Lowe takes it on well in a dressing room that can often be a difficult atmosphere with a number of youthful and experienced personalities.
Last Six Results

Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Ipswich Town – 15/10/16
Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Nottingham Forest – 18/10/16
Bristol City 1-0 Blackburn Rovers – 22/10/16
Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Wolves – 29/10/16
Aston Villa 2-1 Blackburn Rovers – 5/11/16
Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Brentford – 19/11/16
Owen Coyle
 Coyle is light-heartedly known for doing more harm to the North-West of England than Margaret Thatcher, after overseeing the demise of Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic between 2010 and 2013 after seeing his newly promoted Burnley side relegated from the Premier League in 2010. Following a stint at MLS outfit Houston Dynamo, Coyle returned to English football this summer with Rovers but has been unsuccessful so far in turning around the club’s fortunes. Coyle’s penchant for tactical coaching straight from the training ground is best implemented when he has been given plenty of time to put his stamp on the players he manages, but whether he’ll be afforded that time by Blackburn’s owners is yet to be seen.

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