For Blackburn fans, last season in the Premier League was one to forget, their club was in disarray with no clear communication from the new owners and when relegation was confirmed there was an air of inevitably about it.
For Burnley last season was certainly not one for the history books as they secured a solid and unspectacular 13th place in the Npower Championship. This season both were tipped early on as potential promotion candidates despite both losing key players over the summer but now they are falling behind the chasing back.
Burnley sit on 48 points in 11th whilst Blackburn are three points behind their rivals in 16th but with a game in hand. If either side is going to make a late push for the play-offs things have to start with a win on Sunday at Ewood Park.
Burnley go into this match on a dreadful run of form and Sean Dyche must be hoping that the derby will be just the occasion for his players to put in a real performance. Burnley have won just once in the last nine matches which includes five defeats.
In January just before this run started they defeated Millwall 2-0 at the Den for their third win in a row that lifted them up to seventh place.
Their form since then has seriously dented their promotion hopes and the Blackburn game really is a must win. For Rovers things are not much better. It has now been six games since the Lancashire side won in the league and they come into this match following a disappointing 1-0 loss in the FA Cup quarter-final against Millwall. Interestingly the last time Blackburn won it was also their third straight victory but now they are sitting 12 points off the play-off spots and are going to have to face up to the reality of another season in the Championship.
So far this season only four players have hit 20 goals in the league. One is Watford’s Matej Vydra who has 20 exactly and the other is the league’s top scorer Glenn Murray who has scored 27 times this campaign. Sandwiched in-between these two are the two players who could hold the key to both side’s chances on Sunday. Charlie Austin has been sensational so far for Burnley, completely alleviating any fears that Clarets fans may have had when Jay Rodriguez moved to Southampton over summer. Just one goal behind him is Rovers’ big money signing Jordan Rhodes.
The Scotland international had been hitting the headlines for Huddersfield for some time before his eventual move where he presumably assumed he would be guaranteed Premier League football within a season. Both these players have been match-winners time and time again for their respective clubs and with promotion looking unlikely it remains to be seen if either of them will stay at their clubs over summer.
The match is well set up with ultimately nothing more than pride at stake. In the first meeting between these sides at Turf Moor it was Burnley who left it late to snatch an equaliser through Sam Vokes though in reality they were dominant throughout. I’m going for another 1-1 draw again on Sunday, neither side is in good form and I just cannot see either side showing enough for victory.
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