Blackburn Rovers vs Derby County – Match Preview

Derby travel north to face relegation threatened Blackburn Rovers as they look to end their six match winless run.

Last week, with his side sat in the bottom three, Blackburn boss Owen Coyle was sacked. He was quickly replaced by former Middlesbrough, Celtic and Coventry manager Tony Mowbray, who’s first match in charge ended in a 1-1 draw at Burton on Friday night. Rovers currently sit 23rd, on 30 points, with only one win in seven but are just three points adrift with games in hand on many of those above them.

After a frustrating defeat against Aston Villa, Derby sit 11th, ten points off the play offs. The loss was their sixth of 2017 and extended their winless run to six games in all competitions.

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Mowbray resigned as Coventry boss in September after his side failed to win any of their first 10 league games.

Blackburn winger Elliott Bennett returns from a ban, but Hope Akpan serves the third of a four-match suspension. Corry Evans and Gordon Greer both remain sidelined with injuries.

Derby captain Richard Keogh will miss his first league game in over two years after being forced off with a calf injury in the defeat to Aston Villa.

Centre-half Jason Shackell is likely to miss out with a back problem, Nick Blackman is also unlikely to feature due to a knee injury. Cyrus Christie and Darren Bent are nursing slight niggles and will be assessed before the game.

Midfielder Bradley Johnson who was absent against Villa due to personal reasons, is available for selection. Also hoping to return are Matej Vydra and Abdoul Camara who weren’t selected on Saturday.

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Derby skipper Richard Keogh misses out, ending a run of 105 consecutive league starts for the Rams.

Danny Graham’s performance will be crucial for the home side. Graham, who eleven years ago spent a season on loan at Derby, has scored 12 goals and assisted 7 in 32 appearances. His 21 year old strike partner Sam Gallagher has scored 11 times this season since joining on loan from Southampton. The pair have scored over half of Rovers’ goals this term so will be vital if their side are to get back to winning ways.

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Gallagher (left) and Graham (right) have forged a brilliant partnership since joining Blackburn in the summer.

Likely Blackburn lineup (4-4-2): Steele, Nyambe, Mulgrew, Williams, Lenihan; Feeney, Guthrie, Lowe, Conway; Graham, Emnes.

Likely Derby lineup (4-3-3): Carson, Christie, Baird, Pearce, Lowe; De Sart, Hughes, Johnson; Ince, Russell, Nugent.

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If David Nugent (centre) starts, it would be his first since signing for the Rams last month.

As with many of our recent opponents, Blackburn, like us are in need of a win. The match will be their first at home under Mowbray so they will be out to impress. Though the most recent encounter was won by Rovers, we have won three of the last five meetings. It will be a close game but if we manage to get an early goal and maintain control of the game, we have every chance of taking three points for the first time in almost a month.

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