Pedersen: Forget Man United, Burnley's the biggest game for Blackburn
12 October 2009 03:32
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Blackburn winger Morten Gamst Pedersen believes this weekend's derby at home to Burnley is a bigger match for the club than facing Manchester United.
Although the two east Lancashire rivals have played each other as recently as 2005 they have not met in the top flight of English football since 1965.
Rovers have won five and drawn one of their last six encounters against their near-neighbours in a period dating back to 1982.
However, Burnley have enjoyed great success so far in their maiden Premier League season and are five points ahead of Rovers, although they have yet to win a point from home.
Pedersen is keen for that four-match losing streak to continue in their eagerly-anticipated clash at Ewood Park. 'It is the biggest game for the club,' said the Norway international, who admits he did not discover just how fierce the local rivalry was until he scored an 84th-minute winner in their last meeting - an FA Cup fifth round replay four years ago.
'It is bigger to play Burnley in a local derby than it is to play Manchester United if you look at history. You have to be prepared and I am looking forward to it.'
Stephen Fletcher (centre)
Shooting star: Pedersen claims facing Burnley players like Steven Fletcher (centre) eclipses going head-to-head with United men such as Wayne Rooney
Pedersen added: 'I didn't understand how big the game was until after that replay, which we won. 'When I scored the crowd went mental and it is probably the loudest I have ever heard Ewood.'
Rovers midfielder Vince Grella could be a doubt for the match after he came off 20 minutes into Australia's friendly with Holland in Sydney with a thigh problem.
The 30-year-old has already been ruled out of the Socceroos' Asian Cup qualifier against Oman in Melbourne on Wednesday and that makes his participation against Burnley unlikely.