Blackburn Rovers will be looking to get back to winning ways tonight, as they take on local rivals Preston North End at Ewood Park.
Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at QPR brought an end a four-match unbeaten run in the league for Rovers, and leaves them six points adrift of the play-off places going into the weekend’s action.
A win here would therefore be a big boost for their top-six hopes, and a repeat of the 3-0 win at Deepdale from earlier in the season would certainly go down nicely for Tony Mowbray’s side.
But just what lineup should Mowbray go with to get that win? And how could player availability influence his selection this evening.
Here, we’ve taken a look at the latest injury news coming out of Ewood Park ahead of this game, to get an idea of just how Rovers might lineup for this derby.
Having employed a 4-3-3 formation for much of the season so far, we imagine that is the system Mowbray will use once again on Saturday.
In goal, first-choice ‘keeper Thomas Kaminski looks a good bet to continue between the posts, although there could be some change in front of him.
Having missed that defeat at QPR last time out following the birth of his daughter, Barry Douglas is expected to return to the starting lineup in place of Amari’i Bell, with the Leeds loanee having enjoyed an outstanding January prior to that paternity leave.
Other than that, with seemingly no fresh injury concerns across the rest of the backline, Ryan Nyambe, Darragh Lenihan and Jarrad Branthwaite should all keep their places following some impressive recent performances.
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Another intriguing prospect for Blackburn fans inevitably comes around how Mowbray uses Bradley Dack, with the Rovers manager claiming that he is close to being ready to ‘unleash’ the Rovers talisman following his recent recovery from injury.
Although Mowbray admits Dack is not 100% fit yet, the injury enforced absences of Lewis Holtby, Bradley Johnson and Tom Trybull – with all three potentially out for rest of the month – the Rovers boss could be forced to turn to Dack alongside the influential duo of Joe Rothwell and Lewis Travis in midfield, and a local derby in front of the television cameras would certainly be the perfect place for the 27-year-old to well and truly announce his return to form.
In attack, with Harvey Elliott having looked somewhat off the pace recently, this could be the perfect game to give the on-loan Liverpool youngster a well-earned break. That could allow Tyrhys Dolan the chance to come in on the right of Rovers’ attack, with the 18-year-old sure to be desperate to once again prove a point to the club who released him last summer, having already scored in the win at Deepdale earlier in the campaign.
Elsewhere, Ben Brereton is another who scored at Deepdale who could come into the side to offer some extra attacking drive down the left, while top scorer Adam Armstrong – who netted from the spot in the reverse fixture – will surely lead the line through the middle, as he looks to get back on the goals trail after being denied with some big chances last weekend.