We spoke to popular Blackburn Rovers website Rovers Chat to get the inside view from Ewood Park.
Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand)
The international break has eased Villa pain slightly after the 4-1 drubbing against Sheffield United two weeks ago. We’ll be demanding a much better performance than last time out as the Pride travel to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers.
To get the lowdown on our opponents I’ve asked the Rovers Chat (@rovers_chat).
How would you rate your summer transfer dealings out of 10 and why?
I think I’d rate our summer dealings at nine out of ten. We spent quite a bit of money and brought in some good players. We improved the midfield and made sure we’re fully equipped there with the signings of Jacob Davenport, Joe Rothwell, Harrison Reed and Jack Rodwell. Bringing Adam Armstrong back permanently is a deal all Rovers fans love purely after last season, and Ben Brereton is a big statement by the owners and Mowbray, and we’re very excited for what he has to come.
I was also excited by the loan addition of Kasey Palmer. He’s performed well twice at this level with Huddersfield Town and then Derby County, and you can see he has something special.
We probably could’ve done with an out and out winger coming into the club, but it was a very good summer.
What were your expectations going into the season?
I felt that we had too good of a side to go down and our start has only backed up that thought. I thought that Rovers could easily finish in mid-table, around 14th would’ve been my prediction. It wouldn’t have shocked me if we got into the top half with our momentum and gone for play-offs, but I was happy with a mid-table finish and I would be now.
Is this Rovers side better than the one which went down in 2017, if so why?
Yeah, it most definitely is. The side has a camaraderie we’ve not seen at the club for years and the quality of our players has increased. Our problem when we went down was that we had some ‘bad eggs’ in the team, but now Mowbray has flushed these out and the team fight for each other, the badge and the fans. We never had someone like Bradley Dack who could change a game in an instant, and that’s part of the reason we went down (although I blame Coyle a lot more – but I won’t go into it).
Which Blackburn players should Villa be wary of?
I think we’ve got a range of players that Steve Bruce will need to be wary of and keep an eye on. The obvious one is Bradley Dack, who is absolutely class and one of the best attacking midfielders in this division, but there are some others who are worth a mention.
Our number one David Raya has made some saves this season that would be shown on repeat if we were on Match of the Day!
Centre-half Darragh Lenihan is another class player and will be a Premier League in the coming seasons.
Midfielder Corry Evans was our player of the month for August and will give the likes of Jack Grealish a tough match. Up top, Danny Graham does a job that often goes unrecognised, whilst Adam Armstrong’s pace will cause problems. Overall, there are many members of our squad who can cause problems and it’s a real team effort!
Can you see Bradley Dack staying beyond this season?
I think it all depends on our finish this season and how the campaign pans out. He seems to love it here and has a great relationship with several squad members and the fans. If we show signs of progression, then I can see him staying for another year. I do think it depends on the owners though. If someone came in with a £15-£20 million bid with enough time for us to spend the money, I’m not sure they would be able to turn it down.
Where do you see Villa finishing this season and why?
I think you’ll definitely finish in the top half and have enough to make the play-offs. I’m a huge fan of Tammy Abraham and add the likes of Yannick Bolasie, Jack Grealish and Jonathan Kodjia to the team and you’ve got a really good chance of causing problems. I’ll go for sixth.
Score prediction for Saturday?
I’ve got to stick by my team and the prediction I made in the preview on our website (roverschat.com). Rovers to win 2-1 courtesy of goals from Bradley Dack and Joe Rothwell, with Tammy Abraham grabbing his first goal for Villa.
It should be an exciting match, and safe travels to all your fans making the journey to Ewood.