SWFC vs Blackburn Rovers Preview

This week-end, the Owls travel to Lancashire to put the woes of this fixture last year (a 4-2 loss) behind them. With the boost of having Julian Börner and Massimo Luongo back fit, it presses further questions for Garry Monk when it comes to team selection.

So, how would I line up?

With Blackburn, there is an opponent who tries to play free flowing football, yet that could leave the possibility of a counter attack success story – the tactic that worked so well for Rovers in this game last year…

For this reason I would set up with a 4-5-1, looking to exploit their full backs with the pace of Harris and Reach…

GK- Westwood

RB- Palmer

CB- Iorfa

CB- Borner

LB- Fox

RM- Reach

CM- Luongo

CM- Hutchinson

CM- Bannan

LM- Harris

ST- Fletcher

Ahead of Saturday’s fixture away at Blackburn, I spoke to Blackburn Rovers blog – ‘Rovers Chat’. In the interview, I found out more about both the blog and the team it’s based on…

Why do you support Blackburn Rovers?

It’s like most fans, through family. I went to my first match in 2006 at Ewood Park, and I’ve been unable to stay away since. Following Rovers is the biggest rollercoaster of emotions ever, but I wouldn’t change it for anything at all.
What has been the best season following Blackburn?
I wasn’t around when we won the Premier League, and I’m too young to have been at the Worthington Cup final in 2002, so I’ll go for the League One promotion-winning season of 2017-18.
We shouldn’t have been in the third tier, but it was great visiting all the new grounds and getting that winning feeling back at the club. Mowbray brought the feel good factor back to the club, Ewood was rocking and you could tell the club had been turned around for the better. 
I don’t miss the travelling down to Portsmouth on a Tuesday night, although when you’re winning, it makes it all that worth it.
What about the worst season?
It’s got to be the 2016-17 season when we got relegated to League One. Former Burnley manager Owen Coyle was appointed as manager – although Neil Warnock was close to being appointed – and it was almost doomed from the start.
Coyle left in February and Tony Mowbray came in with 15 matches left to go. We gave it our all after that but it was too little, too late as we were condemned to our first third-tier season in 38 years.
The only positive was that Mowbray was there to take us into the next season.
What’s your opinion on the Venky’s?
I won’t forgive them for what they’ve done to this club, but credit to them over the last two years. They’ve realised their mistakes and now they’re financially backing Tony Mowbray.
It seems like they have taken a step aside and let our CEO Steve Waggott and Tony Mowbray run the club, with them just being the financial backers now.
I don’t see them leaving the club anytime soon, and probably only a Premier League return would tempt them as they could recoup their money.
How would you rate your summer transfer window?
At the time, I was delighted, but my enthusiasm has slightly worn off in the last few weeks.
Signing Bradley Johnson on a free was a good deal for our club, but I’ve not been too impressed by him in recent weeks. Christian Walton was meant to be an improvement on David Raya, but he has looked a little wobbly recently and cost us points against Preston last week.
Greg Cunningham came in and was excellent until he picked up an injury and was ruled out for the season. 
There have been a few positives however. Tosin Adarabioyo has come in on loan from Manchester City, and I like the look of him. He’s comfortable on the ball and seems solid.
Sam Gallagher came back to the club – after his loan spell in the 2017-18 season – and finally got off the mark in the league last weekend so he should be full of confidence.
Finally, we signed Stewart Downing on a free from Middlesbrough. This was the most underwhelming signing for me, but he’s been one o our best players this season.
Which players do Wednesday need to keep their eyes on?
I’ll have to say Bradley Dack as one, of course. He was a bargain at £750k from Gillingham, and he has been nothing short of incredible for us. There is no doubt whatsoever that he will be playing in the Premier League soon, and it’ll be sad when he leaves the club.
(Bradley Dack already has 5 league goals this campaign. Photo- lancashiretelegraph.co.uk)
There’s also Lewis Travis, who will hopefully start in centre midfield. He’s had a great rise through the academy and should be one of the first names on the team sheet for us this season.
If you could bring one Wednesday player to Ewood Park, who would it be and why?
I’d hope someone like Sam Hutchinson would help us get a bit tighter at the back and help to cut out the mistakes that are costing us points currently. He seems to be a solid defensive midfielder and a player like him would compliment Lewis Travis well.
What’s your predicted XI?
It’s a tough one to call after recent results and injuries, etc.
I’ll go for the following, in a 4-2-3-1formation:
Walton; Nyambe, Adarabioyo, Williams, Bell; Travis, Bennett; Rothwell, Dack, Armstrong; Gallagher
What’s your playing style?
We’ve attempted to play more “attractive” football this season but it’s not really worked, so in fact, we might revert to long ball and using Gallagher to nod it down for the likes of Dack.  We aim to move the ball forward quickly, but it often leaves us exposed at the back.
Finally, what’s your score prediction?
I never predict us to lose, so I’m going to say a 1-1 draw.

Thanks to Rovers Chat for taking the time to answer the questions. You can follow him on Twitter @RoversChat.

You can follow me on Twitter @opinionofanowl