Well here it is. Tonight could be our last European occasion of the season, which would be a crying shame. We have an uphill task ahead of us and Larissa won`t make things easy. A 2-0 deficit isn`t insurmountable but it isn`t easy either. However, as David Bentley has been saying, in theory it is only half time. We scored three against Birmingham last week and managed two in two minutes at the weekend, so the goals are there.
The early goal is imperative. If we can break them down with an early strike then I am confident they will fold. However, the longer the game goes without us scoring the more confidence they will gain and the more ours will wane.
We need our big guns firing at Ewood on Thursday evening and this is why Benni McCarthy will return and probably Morten Gamst Pedersen too.
Both have been off form lately but a concerted focus on their fitness and form over the past week will hopefully see an upturn in fortunes.
Chances will be created we just have to take all of them!
Hughes on the task at hand: “We need goals and we need to create chances and put them under pressure. The way we’ve been playing, we can do that.
Georgis Donis remains realistic: “I repeat what I said after the first game, we have a 50/50 chance of overcoming Blackburn. This is a great challenge for my players, one which some of them may never get again in the future.”
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Rovers are without Ryan Nelsen, who hasn’t quite made his remarkable return yet and Jason Roberts. They are joined by Steven Reid.
Rovers from: Friedel, Enckelman, Emerton, Samba, Ooijer, Warnock, Bentley, Dunn, Savage, Pedersen, Santa Cruz, McCarthy, Derbyshire, Tugay, Mokoena, Rigters, Khizanishvili, Brown.
Player to watch: Benni McCarthy
He will be returning with a point to prove and I’m backing him to make that point with a rare double. His experience on the European stage will be invaluable and he will have to lead from the back.
Larissa Team News:
The focus is on Rovers, all about the Rovers tonight.
Player to watch: A Defensive Back Eleven
It will be every man to the pumps for Larissa and every man behind the ball as they look to remain resolute. They have done their bit attackingly so it will be all about defence.
Match Facts & Stats
Rovers haven’t conceded a goal in Europe at Ewood in seven games.
We need goals and we will get them. Chances will be created and the superior quality of the surface will benefit us. The pace of the game could prove to be too much for them and this is where we have to unhinge them. Penetration from the wings and the aerial ability of McCarthy and Santa Cruz could be key here. I fancy a fanfare of noise to cheer the players on to a 4-0 win.
Birmingham come to Ewood Park on Sunday for a 15:00 kick off.