Official match thread: Rovers V North End Nov 9, 2023 22:48:52 GMT Pebble Admin, walburghian, and 3 more like this
Post by Phantom Winger on Nov 9, 2023 22:48:52 GMT
Blackburn Rovers V Preston North End
Friday 10th November
Friday 10th November
Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End meet on Friday for the first time in the Championship this season, having had contrasting fortunes.
Ryan Lowe's Lilywhites raced out of the blocks, topping the table having been unbeaten after seven games.
Rovers have had an up and down campaign but welcome North End off the back of four wins from five league fixtures.
With Preston slipping to sixth after losing momentum, and four places separating the sides, there's a lot at stake in this Lancashire derby.
Preston's start to the season was impressive as they mounted their best start to a campaign since 1903.
Having drawn against Bristol City on the opening day, Ryan Lowe put together a remarkable run of six consecutive victories, culminating in their fine display against Birmingham City on 19 September.
Lowe's side were forced to mount a comeback on that Tuesday evening at Deepdale, with Krystian Bielik putting the ball into his own net and Milutin Osmajic completing the turnaround to put them top of the Championship.
But in eight games since then Preston have won just once and slipped from top spot down to sixth in the table, way off pacesetting leaders Leicester and Ipswich.
"They're [Blackburn] a good team, everyone knows that, they're very intricate in the way they play," Lowe told BBC Radio Lancashire.
"Whether there's a rivalry or not, they've got a fantastic manager and it's a game that we feel will be important for both sets of clubs and fans. We'll treat them the same as we treat any other team - with respect but without any fear."
Preston come into the short trip to Ewood Park off the back of a 3-2 win against Coventry City, and Lowe has no doubts about his side's resilience after another come-from-behind win.
"I actually asked them before the game to try and outrun Coventry - if we did that we'd have a chance of winning, and we certainly did," he added.
"Everything I've asked them to do they've gone out and done. We want to continue that as much as we can, having the mentality to come back.
"That's the Championship of late. But I'm just pleased they go out and acquit themselves the right way."
Blackburn had hovered around the bottom half of the Championship this season as they struggled to put points on the board.
Their results have not always matched their performances on the pitch, but they have surged up the table courtesy of their better recent form.
Sunday's win against Norwich City lifted Jon Dahl Tomasson's side five places from 15th to 10th and within striking distance of the top six.
"I think we should be proud of our players with how they're performing at the moment. They have a lot of confidence and should do going into this derby," Tomasson told BBC Radio Lancashire.
"There will be a lot of fans, it's going to be a great atmosphere so it's a great moment to put in a good performance before the international break as well."
Rovers will have defender Scott Wharton back after his red card against Norwich was rescinded on appeal, but the club have suffered a blow with the news that Joe Rankin-Costello will be out for three months having suffered a hamstring injury during the victory.
Dom Hyam is also out for Blackburn, giving Tomasson a defensive headache.
"I'm disappointed for the players who are injured. We know the players want to help the team, which is why it is quite incredible that they have been able to win a lot of games recently, if you see how stressed the squad is," Tomasson added.
"We've had a lot of away games and we've been travelling a lot. I'm disappointed to have injured players but the positive is that Scott Wharton is able to be involved after his red card against Norwich.
"If we had been playing 11 versus 11, it probably would have been our biggest win this season."
Analysis - A 'difficult derby to call'
BBC Radio Lancashire's Andy Bayes
This is a meeting of two teams who will feel they've a chance of reaching the top six this season, but in recent times haven't managed that feat.
Blackburn Rovers haven't made the play-offs since they were relegated from the Premier League in 2012. Alan Irvine was the Preston North End boss the last time they made it to the play-offs, in 2009.
Not a lot was expected of Rovers this season, following high-profile player departures and a chunk of the budget being removed over the summer. The reality is that they are pretty much where they were this time last year. They don't tend to draw matches, it's normally one or the other for them.
North End likewise can be a little difficult to predict. Six straight wins was a dream start to the season following an opening-day draw, but that was followed by a seven-match winless run.
Between 1980-81 and 2015-16 these two sides were in the same division for just one season (2000-01) but they've met in the second tier in seven out of the past eight campaigns.
You'd be right not to call them arch-rivals. Ask Rovers fans and it's Burnley that they sing about. Similarly, North End consider Blackpool as their nearest and not so dearest. But, don't be fooled in to thinking that it means nothing to the supporters either. Both sides have had 4-1 away wins in this fixture in the past 19 months, so bragging rights are important.
Who comes out on top heading in to the international break? It's a difficult one to call