Blackburn Rovers Preview (A) - October 27
WATFORD WILL look to exploit managerless Blackburn Rovers this Saturday and return to winning ways as they head to Ewood Park.
The Hornets were defeat in controversial circumstances on Tuesday night, going down to a 91st minute winner after being reduced to nine men and conceding a penalty for handball in which the perpetrator Jonathan Hogg could do nothing.
Blackburn have had a far from rosy time of it themselves since Steve Kean finally exited on September 28, indeed, it will be just a day short of a month since he was forced out of the Lancashire club when the 'Orns face Rovers this Saturday.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the hot seat remains vacant, with Eric Black filling in for the mean time & guiding Rovers to one win from his five games in charge to date, that coming on Thursday against ailing Sheffield Wednesday.
The Rovers squad is an eclectic mix of players the departed Kean admitted to never having seen, experienced stalwarts of the club and a handful of exciting young players who have either been signed, or made their way through the ranks in recent times.
Eight million pound striker Jordan Rhodes is one of the latter, having signed from Championship rivals Huddersfield Town.
The Scotland international was prolific during his stint with the Terriers, and after an almighty summer tussle for his signature, he moved to Ewood Park for a sizable fee, much greater than the club`s controversial owners ever spent when in the top-flight.
The 22 year-old has made a good start to life at Blackburn, bagging four in his first eight league games for the club, after scoring 73 times in 126 games for Town previously.
Four years Rhodes` senior is Colin Kazim-Richards. Dubbed the 'Coca Cola kid` when Brighton purchased him from Bury after winning a Coca Cola-run competition.
Despite his relative youth the 35-cap Turkish international has packed an incredible amount into his career, turning out for Turkey in the European Championships, and for Turkish giants Fenerbahce and Galatasaray as well as Toulouse and Olympiacos on-loan.
Capable of playing out wide or up front, the Leytonstone-born flyer is incredibly nippy.
At the other end of the experience scale is former Portugal international, Nuno Gomes.
Now 36, the former Benfica, Braga, Boavista and Fiorentina forward was one of six Portuguese to move to Ewood Park this summer.
A highly-experienced line-leader, Gomes won 79 Portugal caps, scoring on 29 occasions for his country in five years - his first of which came against England at Euro 2000.
With four in seven already, he`s looking like a shrewd acquisition and has an overall career record of 226 in 697 professional games.
Midfielder David Dunn (calf) is out of Saturday`s game whilst Nuno Henrique, Fabio Nunes, Marcus Olsson and Simon Vukcevic are all also out.
Gianfranco Zola will be without the suspended duo of Nathaniel Chalobah and Daniel Pudil, leaving a gaping hole in the left wing-back position. Marco Cassetti or Lee Hodson could well cover that position if Jean-Alain Fanchone is not handed a debut. Zola has been keen to downplay expectations that the Frenchman is an automatic choice.
Almen Abdi should return to the middle of the park alongside Mark Yeates & Jonathan Hogg.
Nyron Nosworthy, John Eustace (back, Prince Buaben (thigh) and Neuton (ankle) are all out, but Geoffrey Mujangi Bia an Joel Ekstrand are back and available for selection.
Blackburn Rovers: Robinson; Orr, Dunn, Hanley, Givet; Kazim-Richards, Lowe, Rochina, Etuhu, Ma. Olsson; Rhodes.
Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Hall, Hoban; Cassetti, Yeates, Hogg, Abdi, Hodson; Geijo & Vydra.
Referee: Mr C Boyeson.