Meet the opposition: Blackburn Rovers

22nd October 2018
First team

​​​​​​​As Swansea City get set to face Blackburn Rovers at the Liberty Stadium on Tuesday (7.45pm), we take a closer look at the men from Ewood Park.

What’s their story?

Blackburn made an instant return to the Championship in the summer, earning automatic promotion with a second-place finish in League One following their relegation in 2017.

Rovers ended a successful campaign in style, losing just one of their last 15 league games.

They have been playing their football in the second and third tiers since their second stint in the Premier League came to an end in 2012.

Blackburn are one of only six sides to have won the Premier League, having beaten Manchester United to the title by a single point in the 1994-95 season.

That was their third English title, while they have also won six FA Cups – although they were some time ago now.

Rovers did win the League Cup in 2002, when Graeme Souness’ team beat Spurs in the final.

 

How’s their form?

Very good. Blackburn are only outside the play-off places on goal difference having made an impressive start to life back in the Championship.

Rovers went unbeaten in the first seven games of the campaign in all competitions before suffering a heavy defeat at Bristol City at the beginning of September, but they have lost just one league game since.

Draws against Aston Villa and Derby County last month were followed by an impressive 3-2 win over Stoke.

A 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest preceded a 2-0 defeat to high-flying Sheffield United at the beginning of this month, before a narrow victory over Bolton and another impressive win against Leeds on Saturday.

 

Who’s the boss?

Tony Mowbray. One of the most experienced bosses in the division, Mowbray has been in management for 14 years.

Having been appointed Blackburn manager in February 2017 following the departure of Owen Coyle, Mowbray was unable to steer the club away from relegation but won promotion back to the Championship at his first attempt.

Mowbray’s first permanent managerial post was at Hibs, and he was named the Scottish Football Association’s manager of the year in his debut season at Easter Road.

Mowbray moved on to West Brom – where he won the second-tier title in 2008 – and then to Celtic, who he had represented as a player.

He then took charge at another old club, Middlesbrough, before a stint at Coventry which preceded his move to Blackburn.

 

Who are the key men?

Rovers keeper David Raya is a Spaniard who moved to Ewood Park as a teenager and has since established himself in the first team. He kept an impressive 17 clean sheets in League One last season.

Captain Charlie Mulgrew is a commanding defender who has Champions League experience with Celtic. He could partner Irishman Darragh Lenihan - scorer of the winner against Leeds - at centre-back.

Former Everton and Sunderland man Jack Rodwell, who has three England caps, is rebuilding his career in the Rovers midfield.

On-loan Chelsea starlet Kasey Palmer, former Manchester United youngster Joe Rothwell and Harrison Reed, who is on loan from Southampton, are among Mowbray’s other midfield options.

Attacking midfielder Bradley Dack is Blackburn’s star man.

He finished last season as their top scorer with 18 goals and the London-born star has shown no signs of slowing down, netting six times already this season.

Up front, summer signings Adam Armstrong and Ben Brereton are competing with ex-Swan Danny Graham for a start.

Graham scored for the fourth time this season against Leeds.