|Blackburn Rovers 1 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Saturday, 9th February 2013 Kick-off 15:00
Henderson to Return for Town at Blackburn
Friday, 8th Feb 2013 13:26
Boss Mick McCarthy will be forced into one change for Saturday’s game at Blackburn with keeper Scott Loach out with a sprained finger. On-loan West Ham man Stephen Henderson will come back into the side, while winger Lee Martin again looks set to miss out.
Aside from the change of keeper, McCarthy, who is getting over the flu bug which led to him missing last week’s match, is likely to stick with the same team which beat Middlesbrough 4-0 on Saturday at Portman Road.
In front of Henderson, Richard Stearman will continue at right-back, Aaron Cresswell at left-back and Tommy Smith and Luke Chambers at centre-half.
In midfield, Guirane N’Daw and Luke Hyam will be in the centre with Daryl Murphy probably continuing on the left with Martin considered a big doubt with the hamstring injury which saw him miss the game against the Teessiders.
Skipper Carlos Edwards played 90 minutes for Trinidad and Tobago in their 2-0 defeat to Peru at right-back on Wednesday, however, it seems unlikely that the 34-year-old will be rested – as Tommy Smith was in similar circumstances earlier in the season - with McCarthy praising his captain’s fitness at Thusday’s press conference.
Up front, David McGoldrick and Aaron Mclean will be hoping to add to the goals they scored against Boro.
McCarthy says Blackburn, who are in 13th position on 40 points, six places and five points ahead of Town, have so far failed to look like threatening to join the promotion battle and he hopes that now isn’t the moment they suddenly hit form: “Everybody’s been expecting them to do something from the start of the season, a bit like Wolves, a bit like Bolton, and they haven’t.
“I hope [they don’t make a run at it now], because they’ll have to beat us to make a run at it, so let’s hope that’s not the case.”
Rovers boss Michael Appleton says former Blues loanee Bradley Orr will have a significant role to play now that he has been recalled to his parent club.
The 30-year-old right-back returned to the Blackburn side last week, coincidentally playing against his former club Bristol City, who he had also faced in his final game with Town seven days previously.
Orr was loaned out to the Blues having been criticised by fans for backing ex-boss Steve Kean and then having fallen out with Rovers’ global advisor Shebby Singh.
But Appleton says he is a big fan: “He is one of those players who everybody loves at the football club. He is good company as well and it is good we have him back at the club.
“He is an infectious character. Although it may not have been a great start to his career at Blackburn, I don’t think he can blamed for any part in that.
“I think there are other people out there who can be blamed for a part in it. He has done nothing wrong as far as I am concerned and he will come in and do well for us until the end of the season.”
Blackburn have completed the loan signing of another former Blues loanee, DJ Campbell, until the end of the season, while free agent midfielder Lee Williamson has signed a deal until the summer of 2014 having recently left Appleton’s former club Portsmouth.
Centre-back Grant Hanley missed Scotland duty due to a hip problem and will be assessed prior to the game.
Norwegian international striker Josh King and right-back Adam Henley are out with hamstring injuries, while frontman Leon Best and midfielder Dickson Etuhu have long-term knee problems.
Town have had the upper hand on Rovers over the years, winning 16 games (13 in the league), losing 11 (10) and drawing 15 (14).
No one in the current Town squad has played for Rovers, but three of Saturday’s opposition have featured for the Blues.
In addition to ex-loanees Orr and Campbell, who remains Town’s top scorer for the season on 10, Jordan Rhodes, the son of former Blues keeper-coach Andy, came through the academy ranks at Playford Road.
The striker made 10 sub appearance and scored one goal for the Town first team before being controversially sold to Huddersfield by then-manager Roy Keane in the summer of 2009.
Rhodes moved on to Blackburn for £8 million in August and has netted a total of 24 goals for his clubs and Scotland so far this season, 19 in 28 games since joining Rovers.
On the opening day of the Championship season in August, an own goal by Blackburn defender Jason Lowe seven minutes from time saw the Blues to a deserved 1-1 draw at Portman Road.
Jason Scotland had laid Luke Hyam’s pass into the six-yard box for Michael Chopra before the Rovers left-back diverted it home. The visitors had gone in front in the first half via debutant Colin Kazim-Richards.
Town were last at Ewood Park back in March 2002 in the Premiership when George Burley suffering his 100th league defeat as Ipswich manager.
A disappointing first half saw Blackburn go two-up through Damien Duff and Andy Cole, but a much improved second half display saw Marcus Stewart get back into scoring action, but it wasn't enough to grab Town a valuable point.
Saturday’s referee is Kevin Wright from Cambridgeshire, who has shown 33 yellow cards and two red in 10 games so far this season. Wright’s most recent Town game was the 2-1 home victory over Preston in April 2011 in which he booked one player from each side.
Squad from: Henderson, Lee-Barrett, Stearman, Hewitt, Cresswell, Mings, Kisnorbo, Chambers, Smith, N’Daw, Drury, Hyam, Wordsworth, Edwards, Emmanuel-Thomas, Murphy, Chopra, Mclean, McGoldrick, Nouble.
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