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Blackburn V Bolton at Ewood Park : Match Preview
Published : 19 Dec 2011 16:31:24
Blackburn will be without a quartet of experienced defenders for the relegation clash with Bolton at Ewood Park.
Scott Dann has been ruled out for six weeks with a groin injury, joining Ryan Nelsen, Michel Salgado and Gael Givet on the sidelines.
The one piece of good news for Rovers, who remain second-bottom following their home defeat by West Brom on Saturday, is that Junior Hoilett has recovered from a hamstring strain and is available.
Boss Steve Kean insists he will not turn his back on the fight even though his fate may already have been sealed.
Although the basement battle with Bolton has been billed as do-or-die for Kean and opposite number Owen Coyle, the Scots do appear to be in contrasting positions.
Coyle is under pressure but it is not believed his job is under imminent threat. Kean on the other hand appears to have reached the point of no return.
The Scot faced the media on Monday with his young son in attendance. It can hardly have been a pleasant experience for the lad given his father was grilled repeatedly about Blackburn's plight, second bottom with 10 points, and the banner headlines in the local paper demanding that he is sacked immediately.
There was even talk of a Roy Hodgson-like situation, recalling the former Liverpool boss gave a pre-match briefing to the Reds' in-house channel prior to an FA Cup trip to Manchester United in January, only to be ousted before the game actually took place.
Yet, for all Kean's faults, evidently he has not lacking in mental fortitude.
"I would never back away," he said. "When we win I come up and answer questions. If we lose or draw it is not something I would ever run away from.
"You have to face up to the responsibility. People deserve that respect. "It doesn't keep me awake at night but it is a difficult situation. "I won't turn my back on it though. I think we can get through it and when we do I will know how tough it has been and be determined not to go there again.
"In a strange way, we can use it as a deterrent not to go on a run like this and turn things around."
Bolton defender David Wheater serves the final game of a four-match suspension. Defender Sam Ricketts will step up his bid for a first-team comeback with a game for the reserves this week.
Midfielder Stuart Holden has returned to the club from the United States after undergoing rehabilitation on a serious knee injury, but manager Coyle will select from the same squad which lost at Fulham on Saturday.
Coyle is taking no notice of the unwritten rule which states the team bottom of the table at Christmas will almost certainly be relegated. In the previous 19 years of the Premier League only one side - West Brom in 2004/5 - have managed to survive having been in last place come December 25.
If Bolton fail to win at Ewood Park they will have the Christmas curse hanging over them for the rest of the season.
But for the ever-positive Coyle, the lessons of recent history have little significance.
"Facts and stats are whatever you want to make of them," he said. "My focus is only the game, looking to get those [three] points. "There is no getting away from the fact that we are absolutely disappointed with where we are.
"Even given the circumstances with injuries and suspensions I don't think anyone would have envisaged the points return we would have from the games we have played.
"We are not looking for excuses and the bottom line is we have to change it and we are the only ones who can do that.
"The position we are in doesn't lie and we have to get ourselves out of that and the only way we can do that is by winning games and moving up the league.
"The talking has to stop and we have to go and deliver on the pitch and we have players capable of winning the game."
Blackburn V Bolton - view commentary, squad, and statictics of the game live.