Date: 3rd October 2006 at 11:14pm
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Blackburn Journals Monday 25th September – Sunday 1st October 2006

Monday 25th September 06
Was good to get that second win of the season at the weekend and now we are heading into a new week which will no doubt be busy with the second leg of UEFA Cup against Salzburg on Thursday.

Robbie Savage has spoke of how he feels the club are heading back on track and getting a rhythm going with the last couple of wins. He has spoke of how the mentality has to be right when you go into a game. Against Portsmouth the attitude was we finished sixth and they narrowly escaped relegation, but the game does not work like that. Savage believes the run can be sustained. Since the defeats they have increased the tempo and worked on closing down teams and not giving them time on the ball. Savage again became victim against Middlesbrough with having to change a bloodied shirt for the second away game in a row. Click Here for Full Article

Hughes has commented on how he feels Rovers will make it into the UEFA group stages due to the recent fine form. It is now four unbeaten and the last two matches being won. We have the two important away goals and I predict that we will win on Thursday with perhaps either McCarthy or Nonda getting on the score sheet.

Tuesday 26th September 06
Andre Ooijer is confident that we can get the right result on Thursday and he played a fine game on Saturday, probably his best game in a Rovers shirt and I think that he will continue to do well and we will see the best of him.

The club has recently teamed up with charity Scope to try and kick disability discrimination out of football. They are said to be pleased to team up with us because of the clubs attitude to equality. The stadium already has some of the best disabled facilities in the country and now there are alterations in Blues Bar`s. Click Here for Full Article

I have some understanding of how frustrating things can be for disabled people, especially when in wheel chairs. I had a nasty motorcycle accident last year and after spending nearly two months stuck in bed, I had to use a wheelchair for a while as could not walk and the simple things became not so easy. Thankfully I am healing well and can do most things again now.

After scoring his first goal for us on Saturday Shabani Nonda has said that his best is yet to come. Click Here for Full Article He is now much fitter and has been playing well, looking quite strong. He is working on his fitness and is already starting to look sharper and like he is over the worst of his knee injury that slowed his career last season for a bit. I predict good things from Nonda as he has always done well at previous clubs and looks to be a natural goal scorer.

Wednesday 27th September 06
It has now been confirmed when we will take on the mighty Chelsea. The date is set for Wednesday 25th October at 20:00 and the venue will be our very own Ewood Park so hopefully playing home will favour us.

I can`t wait for tomorrow`s home UEFA Cup clash against Salzburg. I have been contacted by a lady who works for British Eurosport, which is good as it shows that word is getting out there about the website. Click Here for Full Article Analysis will come from former skipper Tim Sherwood and Luton manager and former Rovers player Mike Newel. People will remember that they were both playing the same time at Rovers, back in 1995 when we won that memorable Premiership title. I look forward to sitting and watching it with a brewski or two and probably more if, or shall I say when we win! Click Here for Full Article

It was thought that Jason Roberts would be fit for tomorrows match, but unfortunately he was not able to win his battle in time to be ready. Steven Reid`s back injury looks to be keeping him out for a couple of weeks. Still, it looks as though we will have a strong squad out there and good old Franny Jeffers might feature sometime during the night. On the whole, things are looking good for now and when they return, it will be good as Hughes will have the option of squad rotation to keep the success flowing.

Going back to Jason Roberts, he is hoping that we overcome Salzburg tomorrow to keep his European dream alive. Click Here for Full Article He wanted to be playing, but obviously due to injury he will be observing from the bench. He has waited all his life to test himself at this level and it would no doubt be a bitter blow to his dreams if he did not get the chance he has so-long waited for.

Mike Newell has advised Hughes to forget about the Premiership and to give his all to Europe. When playing for us he scored the fastest ever hat trick in Champions League history and thinks that fans would happily sacrifice domestic form for European success. It`s about getting the balance right with the two of them. I feel we have the quality to go far this season, now that the jitters are out of the way. Click Here for Full Article

Andre Ooijer is out to prove a point after a fairly poor start to the season. He hasn`t had it easy, especially with being away on International duty with Holland whilst trying to settle to life at Rovers. He had a fine game against Middlesbrough and I am sure he is going to prove his doubters wrong and be a key player in our defence. He now feels he is staring to settle in as he has moved into his new house and his family are here with him and things are getting easier. Despite his improvements, he says he has a lot more to offer and people will see even better come of him. I like to believe he is right and look forward to him proving his point. Click Here for Full Article

Thursday 28th September 06
Giovanni Trapattoni believes despite having to play the second-leg of the UEFA Cup match away, going into the game at 2-2, with us having the advantage of the away goals, he thinks that his team can still win and go through to the group stages. He claims that his team is fit and that they are ready for the game. Hopefully we will prove them wrong and send them packing.

Once again, the top dogs at Ewood Park have lowered ticket prices for the Carling Cup third-round clash against Chelsea. It will not be free for season ticket holders like the match tonight, but adult season ticket holders and all concessions will get in for £15 and £5 and non-season ticket holder will have to pay £18 which I think is still a bargain. Click Here for Full Article

After waiting two weeks for the second-leg of the UEFA Cup against Salzburg, it has finally come and what a night. I sat and watched it on Eurosport with my girlfriend who I am slowly converting into a footy fan, well saying that she says you liar, but she definitely knows more than she did four months ago. They were fantastic goals too, with some nice skill from Benni and a devilishly delightful strike from Bentley.

Nonda played a good game too and was unfortunate not to get a goal and as for Lucas Neill, he was on a mission with his surging runs and shooting which was good to see and made me laugh. Tugay was fantastic, ran the show, Savage also had a good game too but was getting a bit of a battering and ended up going off in the second half. Hughes has promised more European nights like tonight and I have a feeling he might be right. They fear no one and Hughes thinks they should enjoy the experience and become a better team.

Friday 29th September 06
Giovanni Trapattoni has told Mark Hughes to go all the way in Europe and win the cup. In his career Trapattoni has won so many trophies and paid tribute to us after beating his Salzburg side 2-0 in last night`s fine performance. He feels be were convincingly better with Nonda and McCarthy up front and Bentley and Pedersen on the wings. We dominated the match and thoroughly deserved the win and it was good of Trapattoni to congratulate Hughes after the match and say to go all the way. Click Here for Full Article

I am looking forward to the group stages and seeing who we will play. It will be interesting and quite an adventure. We all know that we have a poor record in Europe, but hopefully that can be a thing of the past. Hughes has also praised Bentley`s performance and ability and is doing well despite not having much experience at top level and is still learning.

Steven Reid is to miss the Republic of Ireland`s Euro 2008 qualifiers against Cyprus and Czech Republic due to his injury. Things have not been right since he injured his back against Germany at the beginning of the month. He has since seen a chiropractor about his back and is hoping to return after the International break. A couple of days ago he had injections in his lower back and hopefully it will calm things down and will start recovering. Obviously as well as the Ireland games, he will obviously not feature against Wigan on Sunday.

Morten Gamst Pedersen took a bit of a battering on Thursday against Salzburg getting an elbowing from Jorge Vargas. The referee apparently did not see the incident, luckily for Vargas as he could have been off the pitch. Pedersen thinks that Vargas had been targeting him all through the match and luckily the effect of the challenge was only a cut under the lip.

Saturday 30th September 06
Our veteran midfielder Tugay`s fine early season form could see him possibly offered a new contract for next season? Mark Hughes had already tempted the Turkish man to carry on this season and if he carries on playing like he is now Hughes would consider trying to tempt him again in the summer. He was a bargain buy from Rangers in 2001 and he is a massive fans favourite. He not only played well against Middlesbrough in our last league game but also in both UEFA Cup ties against Salzburg. Click Here for Full Article

Just like Mark Hughes I think a win against our difficult opponents Wigan tomorrow will top off a fine period that we`ve had of late before the upcoming International break. Wigan have proven with their first Premiership campaign last season that they are tactically quite a hard team to play against and even if we are to take a lead, it is well known that they will not lie back. Just two weeks ago away to Everton they twice came from behind to earn a valuable point which is a decent result considering Everton`s fine start. Hughes knows that they will be a tough and physical opponent but the UEFA Cup win should keep the team optimistic ahead of the difficult game. Click Here for Full Article

Sunday 1st October 06
Well Hughes got what he wished for as we won our third Premiership match in a row. I did have concerns that after the terrific performance on Thursday night, maybe the players might have gone into this game too lightly and underestimated Wigan who I think are tactically a decent team. The early goal we conceded made me feel this even more so, but in the end we could have won by more than 2-1. Goals from Bentley and McCarthy cancelled out Emile Heskey`s very early goal for Wigan. Click Here for Full Article

The month just been has been promising and what better way to start this month than with a victory?it could be the makings of possibly a stronger month that lays ahead. It`s a shame that Friedel had to come off injured but Jason Brown filled his gloves nicely with a fine debut echoing Friedel`s penalty saves against Sheffield United with a penalty save from Todorov as well as two rebounds. No wonder Hughes had high praise for this promising young goalkeeper.


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