Date: 24th January 2017 at 8:54am
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Blackburn would have moved out of the bottom three with a win over Birmingham at Ewood Park on Saturday but Rovers had to settle for a point in the end.

Recovering from the early setback when Jason Steele brought down David Cotterill to give Birmingham a penalty – scored by former Burnley striker Lukas Jutkiewicz – Danny Graham’s goal ahead of half time secured a 1-1 draw.

Owen Coyle has admitted after such a poor start – and an avoidable penalty conceded – he was happy enough to get back on level terms and was content with a point.

Speaking in his post match conference he was quoted by the BBC as saying.

‘It’s not the start anybody envisaged. I think it’s such an avoidable penalty to give away and, of course, that plays into Birmingham’s hands. At 10 minutes in, given we’d started with two strikers, we had to change to match up. From that point on, we dominated the game and really took charge of it. The equaliser was no more than we deserved at that point and in the second half we were the aggressors again, but always accepting Birmingham would be dangerous on the counter attack.’

Prior to the game at Ewood it was of course decided that Ben Marshall wouldn’t be available for selection amidst interest from Wolves.

Coyle had an ‘open and honest’ chat with Marshall with it decided the 25 year old wouldn’t be involved as he didn’t want a ‘Shane Duffy scenario’ where the former Blackburn defender wasn’t fully committed but still played.

The boss had told BBC Radio Lancashire .

‘I’ve told him that he won’t feature in the game. I had a good open and honest discussion with him and I’ve explained I’m not, and we as a club are not, prepared to go through what we had with the Shane Duffy scenario. I need a group who are committed and totally focused on beating Birmingham. Whether anything transpires between Wolves and the offer for Ben Marshall time will tell.’

Marshall presently remains a Blackburn player but if this chances before the end of this week – well, certainly the transfer window – remains to be seen. If he doesn’t leave this month he’ll leave in the summer on a free when his contract expires.

Another setback from that Birmingham draw was a sense of déjà vu with Charlie Mulgrew once again forced off early in a game by injury. Mulgrew’s groin injury meant he had to be replaced midway through the first half with the boss again hoping he’ll not be sidelined for too long.

Coyle told the Official Website.

‘Charlie has hurt his groin. We don’t yet know the severity of this one but the last time that happened he was back within 16 days or so. So hopefully it is not too severe, the same timescale would be handy as there are a lot of games coming up.’

He’ll almost certainly miss out on Gary Bowyer’s Rovers return when the former Blackburn boss bring Blackpool to Ewood for an FA Cup fourth round tie this weekend.

Mulgrew might have been among those missing anyway with Coyle adding.

‘Obviously next week is a cup game and maybe one or two others were going to play so it may have been that he would have been rested for it anyway. But then after that those league games are very important and we’d love to have him back and available. So we’ll ascertain the damage first and then hopefully with the treatment he’ll receive we’ll get him back as quickly as possible.’

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