Date: 3rd February 2007 at 12:59pm
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The time has come for the prodigal son to return. His fitness has been lacking but Mark Hughes is now prepared to unleash the one time England cap on the Premiership again.

In front of his home support for the first time since his acrimonious split from the club, David Dunn will be aiming to dazzle the fans with his tricks and clever play.

The likelihood is he will start on the bench but I have a sneaky suspicion that he will start. However, he won`t be the only ‘old boy` out to make an impression for his new employers. Jonathon Stead also returns to Ewood but wearing a Sheff Utd shirt. He will have to be watched.

This fixture has goals written all over it, despite the 0-0 draw earlier in the campaign, when both sides paid the penalty for poor finishing. Rovers will be looking to bounce from defeat in the capital again, whilst Sheff Utd will be on a high following their win against Fulham last time out.

This is Rovers` first home game in five. They have been on a tour of London and its suburbs in recent weeks so it will be seen as a boost to be back at Ewood.

Vital Quotes:

Mark Hughes on fixtures: “It isn’t often you play four back to back away games, it takes a bit out of you. But we’re looking forward to a tough game against a spirited Sheffield United side.
“We’ve got games Saturday-Wednesday, Thursday-Sunday or whatever and there will be heavy demands on the players but we’ve got enough bodies to cope.

Hughes on Derbyshire: “ He is really enjoying his football at the moment. As well as working hard for the team, he is having a real impact, scoring goals and now getting international call-ups! So I don’t think it could have gone any better for him.

Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock: “Although Blackburn lost at Chelsea the other night, they’ve been doing well and have picked up results of late, yet they’re still not too far ahead of us in the league.
“So we’ll be going into the game full of confidence, and now all we need is that little bit of consistency.

Blackburn Rovers Team News:

David Dunn is in line to make his second Ewood Park debut. However, he may have to be content with a place on the bench.

Brett Emerton and Andy Todd are both struggling with niggling injuries but better news sees Zurab Khizanishvili back in contention after missing the defeat to Chelsea.

After his first under-21 call-up, Matt Derbyshire is likely to continue in attack with Benni McCarthy.

Rovers from: Friedel, Henchoz, Khizanishvili, Emerton, Warnock, Todd, Dunn, Bentley, Pedersen, Mokoena, Tugay, Nelsen, Derbyshire, McCarthy, Nonda, Samba, Brown, Berner, Gallagher, Peter.

Player to watch: David Dunn

It has to be him doesn`t it? Chances are he will start on the bench but everybody will be looking for him to make an impact, the way we know he can, when he does enter the game.

All eyes will be watching him closely to see if he still has the magical touch and what his fitness levels are like. If the touch and fitness is there he could aid messes Tugay and David Bentley in providing Rovers with a cutting edge.

Sheffield United Team News:

Another former Rover, Keith Gillespie, won`t feature today as he is suspended. Chris Morgan does return from suspension though but new signings Matthew Kilgallon and Luton Shelton won`t play.

Sheff Utd from: Kenny, Davis, Jagielka, Kozluk, Tonge, Armstrong, Morgan, Bromby, A Quinn, S Quinn, Montgomery, Fathi, Webber, Hulse, Law, Nade, Kazim-Richards, Geary, Lucketti, Seck, Bennett.

Player to watch: Jonathon Stead

Today is all about returning players. Since leaving, Stead hasn`t exactly been enjoying himself but he will have enjoyed his first goal for Utd last weekend. That would have given him a timely boost before his return to Ewood, the place where he initially made his name.

We are all aware of the talent he had and he will be keen to demonstrate to people that he still has it. On his day he is a top finisher.

Match Facts & Stats

The last time these two teams met three penalties were awarded and all were missed. View them individually below.

Click here to view Lucas Neill`s penalty miss in Rovers last league encounter with Sheff Utd

Click here to view Friedel`s first penalty save in Rovers` last league encounter with Sheff Utd

Click here to view Friedel`s second penalty save in Rovers` last league encounter with Sheff Utd

Rovers need a win to make it 200 in the Premier League whilst Sheff Utd need a point to tally 500 under Warnock.

Rovers are looking for their first home win in 2007.

The last time that Sheff Utd beat Rovers at Ewood was way back in November 1986 and they have never triumphed over Rovers in the Premiership.

Ref Watch:

Andre Marriner is in charge today for only his sixth game of the campaign. He is yet to officiate a Rovers match and hasn`t produced a red card.

Match Prediction:

Rovers will fancy three points today and will be boosted by the inclusion of David Dunn. Sheff Utd have been scrapping well of late and have picked up some fine wins at home. However, on their travels they tend to struggle and if Rovers can pick up from the display against Luton instead of the performance against Chelsea then they will have every chance of leaving victorious.

The intelligent play from Rovers` wide men and Tugay, combined with the skills of Dunn, could be the key to open up a rugged Sheff Utd side.

Rovers to win this game 3-1.

Next Fixtures:

Everton away is next for Rovers


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