Blackburn Rovers v Blackpool: Preview
Blackburn manager Steve Kean has identified a 42-point safety target as the Ewood Park club return to action after the two-week break when they host fellow Barclays Premier League strugglers Blackpool.
It has been a testing period for Rovers, who have taken just one point from the last 15, while owners Venky's were forced to deny Kean's job was under threat as the club have found themselves dragged into a relegation battle.
Rovers suffered a last-minute defeat against Fulham last time out and sit just one point above the drop zone, one place above their opponents courtesy of a slightly better goal difference.
Kean described the game against the Seasiders as "massive", with his team set to face the likes of Birmingham and West Ham before travelling to Wolves on the final day.
Kean said: "I still think 42 is what it will take. We've got a couple of teams away that are in the same situation, so it's important we get points on the board.
"We'll go back to being on track for a top-10 finish with the very same amount of points as we did last year with eight games to go if we can get a win so it's massive."
Following the Fulham game reports suggested Kean had been summoned to a meeting with chairman Anuradha Desai in London but Venky's dismissed the claim and insisted the Scot's position is safe.
Kean, though, insists he had not been concerned.
"It was helpful because I don't see it as a vote of confidence," he said.
"It was a reaction to an allegation that there was a meeting that took place and the good thing from our point of view was that the newspaper that printed that article put a retraction in and apologised because their information, wherever it came from, was inaccurate.
"I think it was off the back of that that Mrs Desai put out the statement - only as a reaction as opposed to it coming from nothing. I'm very grateful that she put that out but, as I say, it was only a reaction.
Ian Holloway's team have taken just four points from the last four games and have conceded seven goals in the last two.
While conceding Charlie Adam presents a threat, Kean believes Rovers need to nullify the team as an attacking force.
"I've seen Blackpool a number of times this season and the way they play is refreshing because they certainly go after teams and they try and attack," Kean said.
"I think that's Ian's philosophy that they want to go and score goals and they certainly done that against a lot of the bigger clubs so I think it'll be a game where there's a lot of goalmouth action at both ends of the pitch.
"We've worked really hard on making sure we can minimise their attacking strengths and their key players and we've highlighted a few areas that we think we can exploit."
Holloway has warned Blackburn his players will approach the crucial Lancashire derby as if lives depend on it.
Holloway does not necessarily see the Ewood Park encounter as a 'six-pointer', even though both sides have slipped alarmingly towards the relegation zone, but he insists the Tangerines will not lack desire.
The 48-year-old claims his team have shown no lack of commitment throughout a dismal run of just four points from nine games that has left them only a point above the bottom three.
Holloway, who guided Blackpool back to the top flight after a 39-year absence, said: "What we all want to do is keep our status.
"We won't like relinquishing the fact we are a Premier League side. It might take years to get back there. We want to fight and scrap.
"What you have to do is want it more than the opposition, and my team have done that week in, week out.
"I am not expecting anything else. Our livelihoods depend on it.
"We don't want to go back to where we were, scrapping for a living in the Championship. We want to be a Premier League outfit.
"That's how much it means to us. I wonder how Blackburn look at it.
"Let's enjoy every minute of our lives because one day it might be the last minute.
"Even if we don't get what we want, I'm not going to cry over it.
"How lucky are we to go out there and try our best?
"I wonder if Blackburn feel that way at the minute with what has gone on there."
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