Rovers old boy Mike Newell will be hoping his Luton Town side can cause an upset when Blackburn Rovers travel to face his Championship side at Kenilworth Road.
Following Rovers disappointing midweek defeat to struggling Watford in the Premiership Mark Hughes will be expecting far more from his team and will look for them to bounce back with victory and a place in the fifth round.
Even taking into account the injuries picked up in recent weeks, most recently the broken leg suffered by Robbie Savage against Watford you would expect Sparky to shuffle his pack somewhat.
Mike Newell on facing Rovers:
“It will be nice because it’s where I spent the most successful part of my career.
“They’ve had some very good results of late and we’re down to the bare bones. If it’s your day then somebody steps up to the plate and fills in and makes a name for himself.
“It would be a big lift if we were to be successful and get through. We’ll just see what happens on Saturday.”
Mark Hughes on the Cup and squad rotation:
“People questioned my selection for the Everton game and we won 4-1, so whatever team I pick somebody will question it.
“I pick a team that I think is going to win every game that we are involved in. I have great faith in the squad that we have, if I pick a team and it is not up to the job then we all look at ourselves.
“We’ll look at the games that we have in the future because we have to, but whichever team I pick is a team that I think will win the game.”
Luton Town Team News:
New signing from Sheffield Wednesday Drew Talbot should start after his signing to replace Rowan Vine who left for Birmingham for £2.5 million last week. Matthew Spring is also in line for a start after arriving from Watford.
Ahmet Brkovic is doubtful with an ankle injury (which would be to Rovers benefit as he’s a danger man) as is goalkeeper Marlon Beresford with a back injury, he missed the midweek win over Queens Park Rangers.
Player to watch: Drew Talbot
New signings always look to make an impact. The loss of Rowan Vine was a massive blow for Luton but the money offered was too good to turn down. The new boy will be looking to make his mark.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Sav joined Steven Reid and Andre Ooijer in midweek in being out for the season but as we know long term injury victims Ryan Nelsen, Jason Roberts and Francis Jeffers all played in midweek as they near returns, Jeffers and Nelsen will indeed be part of the squad and the Admiral could even start!
New signings Stephen Warnock and Christopher Samba are available for their Rovers debuts, with Warnock the most likely to start although this could be a good time to give Samba a run out if he`s up for it? Tugay`s hamstring strain will see him miss out as he did in midweek and the match will come too soon for David Dunn thought as he is still working on his fitness.
I`d expect a few changes with some youngsters given a chance with Eddie Nolan having more than an outside chance of making his full Rovers debut. Matt Derbyshire should start up front maybe with his strike partner from round three Paul Gallagher if Sparky decides to give Benni McCarthy a rest (to the bench anyway!)
Player to watch: Matt Derbyshire
A firm favourite of mine, he’s improving all the time and given chances he will score, can see him scoring a couple here. The new boys Warnock and Samba will be great to see should one or both play. Hopefully Nolan gets a run out also as I’d like to see him. Above any should the Admiral return all eyes will be on him?
Match Facts & Stats
Luton finally made it into round four thanks to a 1-0 midweek rearranged replay victory over QPR.
The last time Luton were Live on the BBC came a little over a year ago with a third round clash with Liverpool, despite leading 3-1 they eventually lost 5-3 in a pulsating Cup tie.
Luton have only won once in their last seven League and Cup matches, three in 19 but have only tasted defeat once at home since 18th November (won three, drawn two lost the other.)
1959 saw Luton last make the Cup Final but they haven’t been past round four since they made the semi finals in the 1993-94 season.
The 4-1 thrashing of Everton maintained Rovers excellent record over the past ten years plus, only once have we lost in round three. Last year we made round four before losing to eventual runners up West Ham; we’ll be hoping to go at least one better this year.
Rovers last won the cup (for a sixth time) in 1928, so almost 80-years ago. We have only qualified for the last 16 once in four seasons. That was two years ago, when we reached the semi-finals losing to the eventual winners Arsenal.
Rovers have never beaten Luton on their own patch in 20 previous visits in all competitions. In two previous FA Cup meetings we’ve lost both, both third round ties and visits to Kenilworth Road (6-1 in 1953 and 2-0 in 1976). HOWEVER Rovers have not lost to a lower Division club since Ipswich Town (First Division, now Championship) beat us 1-0 after extra time in a third round replay at Ewood Park in January 1996.
Steve Bennett, not my favourite referee in the world I have to admit but he’s not the worst! It could have been far worse I guess…
If we had any doubts that this match would be tough, no victories over Luton in Luton in twenty previous meetings proves so!
Rovers legend Mike Newell will be looking to further push his chances of one day returning to Ewood Park as manager by pulling one over his old side but a spirited Luton display will end with Rovers just doing enough I feel, despite some scares Rovers will come through 3-1.
Should it be needed a replay would take place on Saturday 10th February meaning our Premiership clash with Everton would need to be rescheduled. With the amount of games we already potentially face a replay is something we could very much do without.
No rest for Rovers the easy matter of a trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea comes up in midweek! This takes place on Wednesday with a 19:45 kick off time.