Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rovers can challenge despite off-field issues

Despite the latest unseemly outburst from a Blackburn Rovers official, on the pitch at least the Lancashire club look well-placed to secure promotion from the Championship in the coming season and a quick return to the Premier League awaits.

Rovers were distracted by all sorts of off-field problems last term when they were relegated from the top flight.

Not least were the frequent, vociferous fans' demonstrations against manager Steve Kean and the club's owners, Venky's, who became targets for the match-going supporters to vent their anger at as Blackburn slid
into the relegation zone without so much as a fight.

Against all the odds, though, Kean kept his job over the summer and has overseen a considerable rebuilding project at Ewood Park as the much-criticised owners have at least stuck by their word and kept faith with the Scot for now while giving him a bit of money to spend in the process.

After the reality of relegation had sunk in, the summer started in positive fashion for Rovers with experienced players arriving to bolster the squad in the shape of Danny Murphy and Nuno Gomes, while the capture of striker Leon Best from Newcastle also looked like a really astute purchase. The betting news places them as runaway favourites for the Championship title.

Best has since been ruled out until the New Year after suffering cruciate ligament damage in a summer friendly - a cruel blow to Kean who had lined him up as the perfect man to lead from the front and find the goals that would get the club back up among the elite.

The departure of Junior Hoilett weakens the Blackburn squad but he was fully expected to move on and Kean has wasted no time strengthening with more new faces still expected before the transfer window shuts.

Colin Kazim-Richards has joined on a season-long loan from Galatasaray and Kean remains confident of landing prolific striker Jordan Rhodes from Huddersfield - a signing, if it comes off, to really excite the fans ahead of the Championship campaign.

So, despite Blackburn global advisor Shebby Singh having to apologise for poorly-judged public comments he made about Kean and midfielder Morten Gamst Pedersen, there is room for plenty of optimism around a club which has had nothing but bad press for the best part of 12 months.

Singh stated that Kean would be sacked if he lost three consecutive soccer games early in the season and he undoubtedly remains under pressure as fans continue to openly question if he is the right man for the job.

However, another off-field PR gaffe will not affect the manager, now well used to such outbursts and behind-the-scenes uncertainty, and instead he is cleverly continuing to build a side ready to challenge for a swift return back to the big time.

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