Media view: Local insight on Blackburn Rovers

Lancashire Telegraph's Blackburn Rovers writer on what Bolton fans can expect at Ewood Park this Friday evening

Ahead of Friday night’s game against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, Lancashire Telegraph’s Blackburn Rovers reporter Paul Wheelock speaks to to preview the latest derby between the two sides. What are the expectations for Blackburn this season?

PW: Heading into the new season, I think there was a realisation that this could be the most difficult and challenging of Gary Bowyer's seasons in charge. 

The club's Financial Fair Play embargo truly began to take hold in the summer and Rovers lost key players like Tom Cairney and, in particular, Rudy Gestede. 

That said, the aim for the club has to get back into the Premier League and the squad is beginning to look stronger after a string of recent additions. Despite Rovers' current lowly placing, a relegation fight should certainly not be on the cards. How was Blackburn’s summer business viewed by the fans?

PW: Rovers brought in more than £10million in transfer and sell-on fees, but they haven’t been able to spend a penny of it due to the embargo. Instead they've had to look in the loan and free transfer markets – and they have been in active in both. 

Of the new boys, Fode Koita and Hope Akpan have been the most impressive, while Nathan Delfouneso has helped himself to a couple of goals. Danny Guthrie should get better the more games he gets but the jury is out on Sacha Petshi – as we haven't seen him yet. 

Rovers have also brought Modou Barrow and Tom Lawrence in on loan recently and Bowyer has high hopes for both. It is going to take time for them to all bed in, but it can't take too much time - results are needed now. How important is the game against Bolton?

PW: It’s a big game, there’s no getting away from that – it’s a local derby that’s live on Sky right before the international break. It doesn’t really need much build up. 

A win would certainly lift the spirits at Ewood Park. Neither side will want to head into the international break in the bottom three.’s the one to look out on Friday evening?

If he’s fit, Jordan Rhodes. One player Bolton fans may not have heard too much about is Fode Koita. He’s not quite up to full match fitness, but he’s showed he’s talented and that he can physically cope with the demands of the English football. And a prediction?

I’m going for a 2-1 Rovers win.

Paul is also on Twitter, @PaulWheelock.


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