4th Dec, 2021

FOOTBALL - Blackburn Rovers vs Coventry City Preview

COVENTRY City return to league action tomorrow afternoon when they travel to Blackburn Rovers looking to secure just their second away win of the season at Ewood Park.

 

The Sky Blues have enjoyed an extraordinary start to the Sky Bet Championship season and find themselves in third place after 11 matches – three points off the top.

 

Their opponents Blackburn currently sit in eighth place – two points outside of the play-off places and six points behind City.

 

The club have also confirmed they will be wearing the new 21/22 away kit for the first time this season with details regarding the design of the strip available here.

 

FORM

Coventry have struggled on the road this season having scored just two goals in their five away matches this term.

 

City were heavily beaten in their last away outing – suffering a 5-0 defeat to Luton Town at Kenilworth Road.

 

However, the Sky Blues stunned Fulham with a mesmerising 4-1 win at the Coventry Building Society Arena in their last match before the international break.

 

Blackburn have lost just once at home this season – going down 2-1 to high-flying West Bromwich Albion back in August.

 

Rovers were emphatic winners in their last game at Ewood Park – hammering Cardiff City 5-1 with Ben Brereton netting a hat-trick.

 

However, the Lancashire club are on a two-game losing streak in the league – losing 2-1 away at Blackpool in their last outing a fortnight ago.

 

TEAM NEWS

The Sky Blues have Gus Hamer available again after he served out his one-game ban whilst also recovering from a dead leg.

 

Striker Martyn Waghorn is also set to return to the squad having been forced to miss the Fulham game after he tested positive for Covid-19.

 

However, Ian Maatsen picked up his fifth booking of the campaign in the win against Fulham meaning he misses out for the first time this season.

 

And Matty Godden is also suspended after being charged with ‘a clear act of simulation’ when winning the penalty from which Coventry took the lead against the Cottagers.

 

Blackburn have a host of injury problems although Chile international Brereton is of most concern.

 

The striker scored twice for his country during the break and returns to Ewood Park today having played against Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier this morning.

 

Elsewhere, Sam Gallagher is touch-and-go with a hamstring problem and Harry Pickering and Tyrhys Dolan are both set to be ruled out with illness whilst Daniel Ayala is also doubtful.

 

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAID

Sky Blues boss Mark Robins was full of praise for current Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray who had an 18-month spell in charge of the Sky Blues before joining his current employers.

 

Robins told ccfc.co.uk: “Tony is a top manager who has been here before and knows the club and is somebody that likes to play football.

 

“When Tony was here and it was very difficult, he had a positive impact on the club then when he went to Blackburn he had a positive impact and got promoted at the first time of asking.

 

“Since then he has built steadily and he has some men in his side that know the game and know the Championship inside out.

 

“They are a strong side, a strong unit, regardless of who they haven’t got available they are a really strong group.”

 

Rovers manager Mowbray feels his side’s preparations for Saturday’s match have been disrupted by a spate of injuries.

 

Mowbray told rovers.co.uk: “There’s a bit of illness in the camp and a few players aren’t training, some have picked up a few knocks as well.

 

“We’re really short on forward players, Harry Pickering is another who is struggling with tonsillitis and hasn’t trained, Daniel Ayala has missed a few days as well.

 

“It’s been a bit chaotic really when we wanted to use the second week of the international break to prepare for Coventry.

 

“We haven’t been able to do that, unfortunately.”

 

KEY PLAYERS

Coventry – Viktor Gyokeres – Who else? His remarkable form of nine goals in 11 games earned him a recall to the Sweden side – featuring twice from the bench over the international period.

 

Gyokeres has scored both of Coventry’s away goals this season and netted twice against Fulham as he looks to move into double figures for the campaign this weekend.

 

Blackburn – Ben Brereton – The striker has netted six goals in his last three Championship appearances and is joint-top of the league’s goalscoring charts with 10 strikes.

 

He also struck in this same fixture last season and revived his country’s World Cup hopes with two goals over the international break.

 

HEAD-TO-HEAD

City’s last away win at Ewood Park in the league came back in November 1998 – 23 years ago – when Darren Huckerby and Noel Whelan struck in a 2-1 win in the top-flight.

 

Last season’s fixture finished 1-1 after Brereton opened the scoring for Rovers before ex-Sky Blues midfielder Matty James levelled for City who had Leo Ostigard sent off late on.

 

PREDICTION

Blackburn 1-1 Sky Blues – City tend to struggle on the road but with Blackburn’s injury problems mounting a point apiece would suit both sides.

 

City’s clash at Blackburn gets underway at 3pm on Saturday, October 16 at Ewood Park.

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