Date:Monday December 18 2006
This is a little bit late seeing as the game has been and gone. But the lovely Blackburn editor, Hughes Da Man, and myself exchanged on a little Q&A session ahead of Blackburn's trip to the Mad Stad on Saturday.
But please have a little read anyway...
What do you think Blackburn`s chances are of a result at Reading?
Had you asked me this in the summer, despite the fact that even then I thought Reading WOULD stay up I`d have said pretty good… Given your continued great home form and our poor form on the whole this season (especially away) I`d say a point will be a good result.
Which player/s do you think will be pivotal to Blackburn on Saturday`s fixture?
Tugay and Robbie Savage HAVE to control the midfield and stop you playing the football you can, in a legal sense of course! I`m a MASSIVE Matt Derbyshire fan (as most on Vital Blackburn knows) so hopefully he`ll partner Benni up front as they`ll cause problems.
Which Reading player do you think the Rovers should be cautious of?
Kevin Doyle is a gimmie, everyone should be cautious of him but Seol Ki-Hyeon and Stephen Hunt are players I`ve liked the look of when I`ve seen them, they both look dangerous on and off the ball and deliver good service, Ki-Hyeon can also score!
Fancy a stab at the first scorer and final result?!
There will be goals I`m sure, think you guys will go ahead through none other than Kevin Doyle before a Rovers fight back in a 2-2 draw, would love to say 3-2 win but I shouldn`t get carried away…
Which Reading player would you like to see playing at Blackburn?
I really do think Reading have a lot of good, honest professionals, maybe not world beaters but they get the job done so at this point in time I`d probably take most! I like Graeme Murty in a full-back position and Ibrahima Sonko is a beast! Bobby Convey, James Harper, Stephen Hunt, Seol Ki-Hyeon and of course Steve Sidwell could help our midfield at present but the guy I`d have HAS to be Kevin Doyle. We`re struggling for goals, and the simple goals Doyle (who we were linked with albeit briefly in "paper talk") will score them. I`ll take him thanks and maybe come back for some others!
How do you see Reading and Blackburn finishing the season (across all competitions)?
Reading are flying and will have a decent cup run too I feel. With the greatest of respect most would have expected to have seen us in reversed positions but we`re not, we both deserve to be where we currently are! If you keep players fit you`ll easily finish mid table, a few January arrivals and stay there or thereabouts and who knows maybe a sixth place finish could be had? As for Rovers depending on where we are when the cavalry arrives (key players returning from injury) we`ll finish mid table, which will not be good enough on the bigger picture but the way things are it`s the best we could look for. UEFA Cup, now that`s a different matter… we`ll do well here!
And which would you like to offload?! (Please state either or both a loan for experience or/and a rubbish player!)
I think with the squad down to the bare bones as it is and with several youngsters already out on loan (Andy Taylor, Tony Kane and Keith Treacy) we couldn`t afford many more to go, in an ideal world if they aren`t playing I`d like Jay McEveley, Eddie Nolan, Sergio Peter and Matt Derbyshire to go out on loan for experience so long as they DEFINITELY returned. Dominic Matteo isn`t getting a look in and won`t so get shot of and save the money, Andy Todd been a good servant but he`s had his time get rid, although he looks like he may have one last get out of jail free card?!?! And although he works hard and tries I`m leaning towards Sparky moving on Shabani Nonda, at this point I`d certainly not make his loan permanent.
With games against Arsenal and Liverpool coming up over the Xmas period, how important is it that Blackburn get the win?
It is vitally important that Rovers beat you guys at the weekend but I hate sounding negative and want to be positive but I`m honestly not sure we can or will! We are not likely to get much from Arsenal away, Liverpool at home may be different but they look like they have come into some away form finally. We could, and probably will if we only get a point or two from these three be in the bottom three by the time we play Middlesbrough at the end of the year!
Rovers have won four league games all season, and only four (in all comps) since the beginning of October; why do you think this is? Do you think it is Blackburn`s extra workload (European tour) that is affecting their League results?
And three of these League wins came consecutively between mid September and early October! Injuries to key players the Admiral Ryan Nelsen, Steven Reid and Jason Roberts, so players right through the side from defence to forward haven`t helped, but truth is the squad isn`t good enough to cope with injuries like this. If you want success you can`t complain when you play extra matches, the squad as it is isn`t up to assaults on both European and domestic fronts, although arguably we are better suited to European football.
What are the fans feelings on Blackburn`s recent form and Mark Hughes and his team`s performance?
The recent form has been poor as has the performance of some players. As I say injuries haven`t helped but those that have come in have all too often failed to raise the game as you`d have hoped. Sparky is a legend and has worked miracles with Rovers so it is hard to criticise him although his unwillingness to take players out that aren`t performing in place of others itching for a chance, plus keeping a player who openly admits he wants to leave in Lucas Neill as captain does frustrate me! I`m more than happy for him to play but not as captain.
Do you think Hughesy might follow Pardew out the door?!
The only way I feel he`ll follow Pardew out the door is if he walks, he won`t be pushed through it even if the unthinkable happened come May, which it won`t!!!
Do you think as long as Hughes can succeed in Europe his job will be safe (why would the Board jeopardise European glory because of domestic failure?)
Lets face it Rovers or anyone else for that matter will not win the League for a long, long time, dare I say it if ever as Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal will always be there (unless they break away for a European League?) and with the gap between the rest after them closing all the time to finish as high as eighth will become far harder. Probably went off the topic slightly here, basically in my opinion European glory or not will not play a factor in Sparky`s future.
How far do you think Blackburn can go in Europe?
I`ve felt all along we can go far, we are well suited to European football the midfield maestro that is Tugay reaches an even greater level in these games, often running the show. If Rovers don`t win the UEFA Cup one of the other British clubs will.
Do you think the Rovers will fare well in the FA Cup, (if things go as they are it could be their only ticket back into Europe) especially facing Everton away in the first round?
I`m almost already resigned to the fact that a European place via the League is almost out of reach, we`d have to beat you, Arsenal, Liverpool and Middlesbrough for this to be a possibility in my opinion as too many good teams already have a head start on us even though no one is yet breaking away from that group. It`s an old cliché but I`m taking each game at a time and want to keep Everton out of my thoughts until the new year, obviously I want to win the Cup and if we beat them, why not!
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