Blackburn V Derby at Ewood Park : Match Preview

12 April 2013 12:01
Blackburn V Derby - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Back to reality for Bowyer

Blackburn caretaker manager Gary Bowyer returns from meetings in India with the club's owners for this weekend's crunch npower Championship clash against Derby.

Bowyer sat down with Anuradha Desai, her husband Jitendra and Balaji Rao of Venky's, along with managing director Derek Shaw and operations director Paul Agnew, in the week following Rovers' slip into the relegation zone.

That came after last weekend's 3-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough and Bowyer is expected to select from the same squad as Blackburn search for a first league win since Ipswich went down 1-0 at Ewood Park on February 9.

Top scorer Jordan Rhodes returned to the starting line-up last time out to net his 23rd goal since joining from Huddersfield in the summer and Colin Kazim-Richards or Leon Best could join him in attack, although the latter must have his calf assessed.

Midfielder David Bentley (knee) and left-sided duo Markus Olsson (hamstring) and Martin Olsson (ankle) will also be the subject of late fitness tests.

Dickson Etuhu (knee) and Paul Robinson (back/pulmonary embolism) head up the list of long-term absentees.

John Brayford is in line for a return to the Derby squad.

The right-back played for just over an hour in the development squad on Monday afternoon in what was his first taste of match action since suffering a torn hamstring ahead of the Rams' trip to Championship leaders Cardiff at the beginning of last month.

"His return has been a boost for everybody," Derby boss Nigel Clough told the club's official website.

"The medical staff have done well with him. He is a quick healer, he always has been and I think that is partly down to his attitude - he wants to get back onto the pitch as quick as possible.

"It will be good to have him back in the squad for these last five games of the season."

Clough revealed that leading scorer Jamie Ward and midfielder Craig Bryson will continue to be assessed on a game-to-game basis.

Ward has suffered with hamstring problems for the majority of the season while Bryson has struggled with a groin injury in recent weeks.

"Jamie has done a bit of training this week but Craig hasn't done anything so far. But we are hoping both will be fit for the weekend," said the Rams boss.

"We are patching them up and with five games to go it is really a case of getting them back out there for the next game."

Monday's development squad fixture saw Gareth Roberts come through 90 minutes unscathed following his absence with a calf injury, and the experienced left-back will be putting pressure on on-loan midfielder Craig Forsyth for a starting role.

Source: PA