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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Sky Blues Face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday

City play at St Andrew's for the second time this week..

23 October 2020

The Sky Blues are in action for the second time this week when they take on Blackburn Rovers at St Andrew’s on Saturday afternoon. Here’s everything you need to know about our opponents.

                           

Fact File

Name: Blackburn Rovers

Founded: 1875

Stadium: Ewood Park (first opened 1882)

Capacity: 31,367

Nickname: Rovers

Address: Ewood Park, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 4JF

Pitch Size: 115 x 76 yards

Ewood Park.jpg

The Opposition

Blackburn finished in 11th place in the Championship last season, seven points off the play-offs, making steady progress under former Sky Blues boss Tony Mowbray.

Rovers were busy on the final day of the domestic transfer window, signing Barry Douglas, Tom Trybull and Harvey Elliott on loan to replace the players they released in the summer which included Stewart Downing, Richie Smallwood and Danny Graham.

They have impressed in front of goal this season and are currently the league’s highest scorers, finding the net 12 times in their opening six league matches, which includes big wins against Wycombe Wanderers and Derby County respectively.

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Manager

Tony Mowbray was appointed as Blackburn head coach in February 2017, having previously been employed at the Sky Blues.

Mowbray had a brief caretaker spell in charge of Ipswich Town before taking up his first role in management with Hibernian in May 2004.

He achieved back-to-back top four finishes with Hibs, helping them into Europe in the process, and won the Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football Writers’ Manager of the Year award at the end of his first season in charge at Easter Road.

His success in Scotland saw him appointed as West Bromwich Albion manager in October 2006 and he took the Baggies all the way to the Championship play-off final, beating rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semi-finals before losing 1-0 to Derby in the final at Wembley.

The following season he guided West Brom to the Championship title and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup where they were beaten by eventual winners Portsmouth, winning the LMA Manager of the Year award in the process.

However, Mowbray was unable to keep the Baggies in the top flight, dropping straight back down to the second tier before leaving for Celtic in June 2009.

Mowbray would spend just nine months at Celtic Park before being sacked after enduring a difficult campaign back in Scotland and returned to management with Middlesbrough in October 2010.

He spent three seasons with the Riverside club, finishing as high as seventh in 2011/12, missing out on the play-offs by five points, before leaving his role as manager in October 2013.

The 56-year-old returned to the dugout with the Sky Blues in March 2015 and helped keep City in League One with a final day win away at Crawley Town before then helping City climb to an eighth place finish the following season.

However, after making a poor start to the 2016/17 campaign, Mowbray resigned as manager.

He returned to management with Blackburn but wasn’t able to keep the club in the Championship, suffering relegation to League One on goal difference despite winning at Brentford on the final day of the season.

Rovers would send just a single season in the third tier with Mowbray guiding the club to a second-place finish and an immediate return to the Championship before then keeping them in the division for the past two seasons.

With Blackburn, Mowbray has managed 178 matches recording 76 wins, 47 draws and 55 defeats.

Blackburn Rovers Fans.jpg

Last Six Games

Lost – Watford 3-1 Blackburn (Sky Bet Championship)

Lost – Blackburn 0-1 Nottingham Forest (Sky Bet Championship)

Drew – Blackburn 0-0 Cardiff City (Sky Bet Championship)

Won – Derby County 0-4 Blackburn (Sky Bet Championship)

Won – Blackburn 5-0 Wycombe Wanderers (Sky Bet Championship)

Lost – Newcastle United 1-0 Blackburn (Carabao Cup)

Last Meeting vs Blackburn Rovers.jpg

Last Time We Met

The two sides last met in August 2017 in the Carabao Cup with Blackburn running out 3-1 winners at the Ricoh Arena in the first-round tie.

Rovers went in front after 16 minutes when Corry Evans smashed an effort past Liam O’Brien from the edge of the penalty area.

City equalised just six minutes later when David Raya parried Jack Grimmer’s shot into the path of debutant Duckens Nazon who fired home from close range.

The visitors restored their lead just past the half hour mark when Richie Smallwood’s deflected effort left O’Brien with no chance.

Blackburn wrapped up the win in the second half when Dominic Samuel’s goalbound shot was once again deflected past O’Brien.

O’Brien made a stunning save to keep the Sky Blues in the contest, diving high to his right to tip Jack Doyle’s effort over the bar.

Head-to-Head Record

Sky Blues Wins – 17

Draws – 6

Blackburn Wins – 14

Club Connections

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Adam Armstrong

Current Blackburn striker Adam Armstrong enjoyed a prolific loan spell with the Sky Blues before joining his current employers in January 2018.

Armstrong began his career with Newcastle United, making 21 appearances for his hometown club across five seasons, joining the Sky Blues on loan for in July 2015, initially until January.

It would prove to be a breakthrough season for the youngster who scored twice on his debut against Wigan Athletic and would go on to score 20 goals in 40 matches, with his loan extended until the end of the season.

He scored his first senior hat-trick in a win against Crewe Alexandra and was named in the PFA Team of the Year for his superb displays, also winning the club’s Goal of the Season award for his long-range effort against Millwall.

Loan spells with Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers would follow before scoring nine goals in 21 appearances on loan at Blackburn in the second half of the 2017/18 season, helping the club achieve promotion out of League One.

He made the move permanent in August 2018 and after a difficult first season in the Championship, scored 16 goals last term and has already scored five league goals this season.

The 23-year-old was also part of the England squad that won the FIFA under-20 World Cup in 2017 and the Toulon Tournament in 2018.

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Lee Carsley

Current England under-20 manager Lee Carsley moved to the Sky Blues from Blackburn earlier in his career, before coming back to finish his career with City.

Carsley came through the youth ranks at Derby County and made 163 appearances for the club across five seasons, helping them achieve promotion to the Premier League in 1995/96.

He signed for Blackburn in March 1999 but couldn’t keep the club in the top flight before enjoying an excellent season in the second tier, scoring 10 goals in 30 league appearances.

The Republic of Ireland international joined the Sky Blues in December 2000, arriving for £2.5 million and made 52 appearances for the club, scoring five goals, under the management of Gordon Strachan.

Despite his impressive performances in midfield, he couldn’t prevent City from dropping out of the top flight for the first time in 34 years and stayed with the club until February 2002 when he signed for Premier League side Everton.

He spent seven seasons with the Toffees, which included scoring the winning goal in the Merseyside derby and helped the club reach the Champions League qualifiers in 2004/05, departing Everton having made 199 appearances, scoring 13 goals.

The Birmingham born midfielder joined his boyhood club, Birmingham City, in May 2008 and helped the club return to the Premier League after a second-place finish in the Championship, winning the club’s Players’ Player of the Year award.

After an injury plagued second season with Birmingham, Carsley returned to the Sky Blues in July 2010, making a further 25 appearances for the club, scoring two goals, captaining the club to Championship safety before retiring at the end of the season to take up a coaching role with the club’s under-18’s.

He has also taken caretaker charge of the Sky Blues, alongside Richard Shaw, following Andy Thorn’s dismissal in August 2012 and was again placed in temporary charge later in the season.

Carsley has also held managerial roles with Brentford’s Development Squad and first team, Manchester City’s academy and is currently England under-20’s manager.

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Match Officials

Darren England will be the man in the middle on Saturday afternoon, taking charge of his fourth game of the 2020/21 season.

He also refereed the Sky Blues in the last meeting between the two sides in the Carabao Cup back in August 2017.

This will be England’s sixth season as a Football League referee and he has officiated the Sky Blues on six occasions, with City winning two, drawing two and losing two of those matches.

So far, England has awarded three yellow cards across three matches in the Carabao Cup and Premier League

He will be assisted by Nick Hopton and Natalie Aspinall with Peter Wright acting as fourth official.


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