Date: 28th July 2017 at 3:58pm
Written by:

Of course, the reality is Blackburn’s final pre-season friendly against Carlisle isn’t all about Danny Graham but he’s the one Tony Mowbray has talked up and they are a former club of his.

Graham, who secured Rovers a win at Grimsby on Tuesday with his fourth of pre-season, had a ‘quieter game’ at Blundell Park and Mowbray will look for a little more from him against Carlisle this evening.

Mowbray told the Official Website: ‘I thought it was one of his quieter games, but yet he does what he does, comes up with a goal. I was saying afterwards that I thought he played too high in the first half, between their centre halves, and the way we’re looking to play I think you have to ask him to play a bit deeper, come away from the centre halves, have a touch of the ball and get involved in the spaces.’

Having come through 75 minutes against Grimsby the aim for Mowbray at Brunton Park will be for Graham to get through the full game if possible as he further works on the amendments to his game the boss plans.

‘But he got his goal, he got the time on the pitch which is good for us because early in the pre-season he was finding it difficult to get over 20 minutes without picking up a knock,’ added Mowbray. ‘But now he’s getting 75 minutes and he’s fine and he will do it again on Friday and see if we can get 90 minutes out of him.’

As for the game itself, Graham’s looking forward to returning to the club he enjoyed two successful years earlier in his career, which is where he started to make his name really having scored 33 goals in 102 games.

Graham’s relishing this return and still appreciates the part Carlisle played in his career.

‘I’ve only been back there once, for Peter Murphy’s testimonial a few years ago. A lot has probably changed since I was last there, not many players, if any, are still there, but it’s always nice to go back to somewhere that was probably a good stepping stone in my career at the time,’ he told the Official Website.

Adding: ‘I loved my time at Carlisle. It was the first chance for me to play regular first team football. The first season we got to the play-off semis and we were unfortunate to get beat off Leeds, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was massive in my football education and it helped me to move on and eventually play Premier League football, so I’m massively grateful for the two years and the opportunity they gave me.’

He went on to say ‘obviously minutes is massive’ so he too is looking to play as many as possible at Brunton Park as it all adds to the ultimate goal of being completely ready for the League One opener against Southend next weekend.

Ending pre-season with a good team performance, ideal a goal or two for himself, is the hope for Graham in Cumbria this evening.

‘As a forward you want to be selfish and score every game and if I manage to do that against Carlisle and we put in a good team performance then it will be a good final game of pre-season for us,’ added Graham.

Concluding: ‘It’s always nice to get goals early on and I should have scored against Sparta Prague as well, so I should really have five in five, but we’re going to miss chances along the way. The most important thing is to put in a good team performance and fine tune the little bits we need to do before we move on to the business end, which is Southend next week.’

Join The Vital Debate