Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur: Match Preview

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Blackburn Rovers v Tottenham Hotspur
Barclays Premier League
Ewood Park
23rd October, 2011; 15:00 KO

Team News

Morten Gamst Pedersen could return for the hosts on Sunday, with no new injury worries for Steve Kean ahead of Spurs' visit to Ewood Park.

Ryan Nelsen and David Dunn (calf) remain long-term absentees, leaving Chris Samba and Scott Dann as the defensive partnership after last weekend's draw against QPR.

Harry Redknapp has a defensive nightmare on his hands, with William Gallas, Michael Dawson, Ledley King and Vedran Corluka all unavailable - Younes Kaboul and Sebastian Bassong are likely to partner-up at centre back.

Tom Huddlestone remains a long-term absentee, whilst Aaron Lennon and Sandro enjoyed comebacks in the Europa League against Rubin Kazan on Thursday and are available for selection. Scott Parker, Gareth Bale and Rafael Van der Vaart are all likely to receive recalls after missing out in midweek.

Kean keeps fighting for survival

Blackburn Rovers boss Steve Kean will be desperate for three points when Tottenham Hotspur arrive in Lancashire on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts sit bottom of the Barclays Premier League with just one win from eight games so far this term, and the manager is under increasing pressure from supporters as a third protest against his tenure at the club is planned for the match.

Owners and players have come to the defence of Kean, who watched his side collect a point at QPR last weekend, and getting the fans on-side, as some were at Loftus Road, could be crucial against Harry Redknapp's side.

“Of course having the fans behind you makes a difference. It was a united effort though. All the fans, the staff, the players, the owners. We all want the same thing," he said after the trip to west London.

“If we continue to stick together as a club then we will climb the table soon."

Yakubu echoed the sentiments of his manager, and insists all the players at the club are fully behind Kean and desperate to win for the manager.

"We just have to stick together and do our job. In the end those fans will be with us again. The pressure isn't on the team when you're losing, it is always going to be put on the manager," said the Nigerian striker.

Yakubu insists players are behind Kean. (©GettyImages)

"All the players are behind Steve Kean. When he talks to us in training, we are impressed. It's our job to go out there and win - and that's all we focus on."

Spurs, meanwhile, are juggling a Europa League campaign with their domestic effort to finish in the Barclays Premier League top four.

Sitting first in Group E, as well as sixth domestically with a game in, the campaign has been a success thus far, and Redknapp is well aware that juggling his squad holds the key.

“Jake Livermore played centre-half for us, he’s a midfielder but he adapted well," Redknapp said in reference to Thursday night's 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan.

“I didn’t want to play both Younes Kaboul and Seb Bassong and risk them before Blackburn on Sunday. Jake came in and did well against a good team. He’s a great lad, great attitude.”

Russian striker Roman Pavlyuchenko also stated his case for more minutes after scoring the winner, with top flight chances limited to substitute appearances in the league thus far.

Pav impressed in Europe - but will probably join Defoe on the bench again. (©GettyImages)

However, Redknapp was thrilled to see the striker take his opportunity on a successful night for the club.

“He’s a great striker of the ball and technically, a fantastic footballer. When he put the ball down I fancied he could score because he really can strike a ball well. He really can hit it.

“He’s a top player, a first-team player and this was an opportunity for him. It was great to see him score."

GMF probable Starting XI:

Blackburn Rovers: Robinson; Salgado, Dann, Samba, Olsson; N'Zonzi, Hoilett, Givet, Petrovic; Yakubu, Roberts.

Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel; Walker, Bassong, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Parker, Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart, Adebayor.

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Tottenham Hotspur
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