Rovers return to action this afternoon as they make the trip to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol City. Daniel Ainsworth previews the fixture below.
After the final international break of the calendar year, Rovers return to action as they travel south to take on Bristol City.
Rovers make the trip to the South West in good form, winning three of their last four matches, but the defeat to Fulham has dampened that statistic.
They travel to face a Bristol City side who won their first home game in 17 attempts last time out, and the Robins will be boosted by the return of Nigel Pearson, who has had his own struggles with Covid.
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Ending that horrid winless run at home was clearly a positive for Bristol, but given Rovers’ tendency to lend a helping hand to sides having runs like the aforementioned, it could also work in our favour.
A major positive, and one we have not had all season, is that Rovers have a decent pool of senior players to choose from, with Daniel Ayala and Harry Pickering set to return to the fold, and the returnees and performers last time out provide Tony Mowbray with a real selection headache.
In defence, Scott Wharton impressed after a lengthy absence and would deserve to keep his place in the side, whilst Ayala was one of Rovers’ best players before his injury.
Tayo Edun has enjoyed a bright start to life at Rovers, but the returning Pickering could see the former Lincoln man drop to the bench.
In the midfield, the trio of Lewis Travis, Joe Rothwell and John Buckley has been key to Rovers’ successes so far this campaign, but Jacob Davenport impressed in a rare start against Sheffield United.
There are also selection headaches up front. Ben Brereton Diaz’s early return from international duty with Chile makes him an almost guaranteed selection, leaving two spots to be shared by the ever-impressive Tyrhys Dolan and the duo that stood out in the aforementioned Sheffield United victory, Reda Khadra and Ian Poveda.
The fact that Rovers’ line-up is not going to be as predictable as usual can be seen as both a positive and a negative, and it will be interesting to see the way Tony Mowbray chooses come 2pm.
Mowbray will be wary of the threat of Bristol City’s Chris Martin and Andreas Weimann, with the duo the only players to have scored more than once for the Robins in the league this season.
It will be a testing match for Rovers, but with the returning players and a good run of form, I’m backing Mowbray’s men to kick off the run into Christmas with all three points.
Predicted XI: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Ayala, Pickering, Travis, Buckley, Rothwell, Dolan, Brereton Diaz, Poveda
Prediction: Bristol City 1-3 Blackburn Rovers