Blackburn's players can't afford to lose to Burnley, as Kenyon puts boot in
17 October 2009 03:14
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Blackburn's players have been left in no doubt of the importance of tomorrow's derby against Burnley - the club's boot man Harry Kenyon has told them not to bother showing up next week if they lose.
The Lancashire clash is building up to be a memorable contest to secure the local bragging rights, and Rovers skipper Ryan Nelsen knows exactly what is at stake.
Nelsen said: 'Losing doesn't even bear thinking about - I wouldn't want to show my face near Harry if the worst happens.
'Every time he hands the guys a pair of boots he reminds us that there is no way we can lose.
'But we are only thinking about winning. We are very confident and we have a great record at home.'
The clubs' last meeting came in 2005 in the FA Cup fifth round, when Rovers triumphed in a replay, but Burnley won the last top-flight encounter back on New Year's Day, 1966.
New Zealand defender Nelsen remembers the FA Cup match fondly.
He added: 'I have fantastic memories of playing them in the FA Cup back in 2005 - and not just because we won.
'It was the first time I captained Blackburn - Andy Todd was suspended for that game so it was a great honour for me.
'Nothing has compared with it in my career. It was an incredible atmosphere and something that I will remember for the rest of my life.
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'Those two Blackburn v Burnley games were something very special, you can't even really explain it to other players.
'As soon as that whistle blows there aren't going to be any players holding back.'
Vince Grella is out after he picked up a thigh injury on international duty with Australia while Steve Reid (Achilles) is also missing but keeper Paul Robinson and centre-half duo Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba have all recovered from knocks.
For Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce, victory would be an early birthday present - he turns 55 on Monday and hopes it will be many happy returns at Ewood Park.
He said: 'It would be a nice early birthday present for me if the lads can pull it off.
'For the fans we feel we have to win. We know the responsibility that lies on us.
'I'm sure many Blackburn and Burnley fans work together and we want the Blackburn fans to go home as happy as they can be and looking forward to getting up and going to work on Monday morning and bumping into that Burnley fan saying "we've got one over on you".'