Opposition watch: Blackburn Rovers

The low-down on this weekend's opponents from Ewood Park

A fixture which has certainly produced some memorable games in recent years, clashes between Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers are rarely quiet affairs.

Two sides that have been in the same division as each other for 16 of the past 18 years, Rovers did emerge victorious at Ewood Park earlier this season with David Dunn, Corry Evans and a brace from Jordan Rhodes securing all three points for the hosts.

With Chris Eagles’ late winner in the corresponding fixture last term still fresh in the memory for both sets of supporters, Saturday’s clash at the Reebok marks the 164th meeting of these teams in the history of the Football League.

Rovers themselves experienced a difficult season last term, with Gary Bowyer’s men narrowly avoiding demotion to League One after finishing just four points shy of Peterborough United who occupied the final relegation spot.

Their fortunes have been transformed during the current campaign however, with the Ewood Park outfit sitting pretty in ninth position in the Sky Bet Championship league standings and within touching distance of Reading who at present occupy the final play-off spot.

Heading to the Reebok Stadium having lost just one league game during the calendar year – a 4-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest in mid-January – Gary Bowyer and his side will be hoping to continue their fine form of late in Saturday’s derby clash.

Bowyer himself, who was installed as Blackburn’s permanent manager in the summer following a season which saw three different figures occupy the Rovers hotseat, has undoubtedly played his part in the team’s recent turnaround, with it appearing as though stability has finally been found at the club.

The Blackburn boss also managed to hold onto highly rated frontman Jordan Rhodes during last summer’s transfer window despite heavy interest from clubs around the country – a move which has reaped dividends as the 24-year-old has notched an impressive 16 goals so far this term.

The arrival of figures such as Rudy Gestede on a permanent basis alongside the acquisition of Luke Varney and Craig Conway has added to Rovers’ ranks in recent weeks, with the latter notching the winning goal in the team’s last outing – a 1-0 victory at Reading on Saturday.

Having secured four wins on their travels so far this term against the likes of Leeds, Yeovil and Bournemouth, the Blackburn faithful will be hoping that their side can record back-to-back victories after being held by Middlesbrough and Barnsley in recent weeks.

With Wanderers high on confidence following on from last weekend’s impressive victory over Watford however, both teams will be eager to secure three points and the local bragging rights come the final whistle this weekend.

Tickets are still available for tomorrow's derby clash - order in person at Bolton Central, over the phone on 0844 871 2932 or by CLICKING HERE.

Get ready for derby day at the Reebok by reliving Chris Eagles' memorable winning strike against Blackburn last season. To watch, please click on the video below.

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