Blackburn Rovers v Aston Villa
Barclays Premier League
Saturday March 3; 15:00
Martin Olsson is rated only as 50/50 for Rovers, but Gael Givet and Jason Lowe could return to action having competing their respective bans.
For Villa, Darren Bent’s season appears over after picking up an ankle ligament injury against Wigan last week, meaning Nathan Delfouneso, recalled from his loan spell at Leicester may feature while Robbie Keane’s loan spell has come to an end.
McLeish defiant ahead of Blackburn clash
Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish insists he is not being put off the task at hand at the club by dissenting fans who vented their frustration during last week’s drab 0-0 draw with Wigan.
The Villains have endured a poor season by their standards under the former Birmingham City boss, with just eight points separating them from the relegation zone.
The Scot has struggled to capture the hearts of the Villa faithful since his arrival over the summer thanks to his connections with rival club Birmingham, while events took a turn for the worse as leading striker Darren Bent picked up a season-ending ankle injury in last week’s game at the DW Stadium.
The misery continued to pile up for Villa after the club’s accounts revealed a huge £53.9 million loss in the last financial year.
However despite all the problems besetting the Midlands club, McLeish remains adamant that he will not give in to the fan’s anger at his side’s inconsistent performances, insisting that the club are heading in the right direction.
“It's (the booing) never stopped me, I've never wavered in my commitment to Aston Villa and the course we are taking,” he told reporters.
“I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me, that it was easy to handle and there was no pressure whatever. But I believe I'm strong enough and I've got the experience to handle it," McLeish added.
Villa face a must win game against Blackburn this weekend if they are to avoid being dragged backwards into the relegation scrap.
Amongst the Villa faithful’s main gripes is the Scot’s perceived negative tactics, which they believe has contributed to their paltry tally of 29 goals in 26 games this season.
"I have never put the shackles on the lads," he said. "I never have done since the start of the season.
"Yes, I want them to get back and defend and help out other parts of the teams, just as every other major team in the world does - the Barcelonas and Manchester Uniteds of this world.
"But I never put any shackles on anybody and asked them not to go and score goals and play their best football.
"My biggest desire is to make Aston Villa fans happy. I want to turn that corner."