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Opinion: Blackburn Rovers could face their toughest test yet tonight



Fresh from the sweet taste of victory, Rovers go in search of that very same flavour in what could be our toughest test yet on Tuesday night as we take on Scunthorpe United. 

Rovers made it a hat-trick of wins by beating Rochdale comfortably last weekend.

However, a familiar phrase has often come up when recording these kind of victories.

“We’ll face tougher opposition this season.”

Be that as it may, what about the preferred  saying of “you can only beat what’s in front of you!”.

Whether it be the 4-1 home thrashing of MK Dons or the 0-3 drubbing of our Greater Manchester neighbours, Rovers are doing a job on the let’s say less inspiring sides of this division.

Something all Rovers fans hope will continue.

It’s safe to say that the opposition we face on Tuesday night will be very different.

Scunthorpe United, the early season draw specialists, if their first three games of the season were anything to go by.

Since then, the Irons have stepped up a gear and shown some real form.

The Glanford Park outfit have won four out of their last five  matches, with only Blackpool (Scunthorpe’s opponents last weekend) the only side to stop them scoring in what was a 0-0 draw.

Even then, ex Rovers manager Gary Bowyer was quoted as saying his defence put in the performance of the season to halt one of the league’s early pacesetters.

Wins over Oxford, Plymouth, Sunderland U21’s and Bury have seen many notice Scunthorpe’s rise up the table. Some even suggesting they could go all the way and be the surprise package of the season.

Surprise package is exactly what they would be too. Having not spent anything in the summer window. Saying that, Scunthorpe have brought in a couple of experienced journeymen. Namely, one Lee Novak on a free from Charlton.

Graham Alexander has assembled a capable squad who love scoring goals.

They boast a former Rover in Josh Morris whose free kicks rival those of our very own Charlie Mulgrew. It’s totally acceptable to say that Scunthorpe are capable of turning any side over on their day and will be tough opposition for anyone. Particularly at home.

Another factor that could work against Rovers is the fact Scunthorpe face rivals Doncaster Rovers this coming Sunday and won’t want to go in to their derby with indifferent form. Alexander will have them fired up in what promises to be a massive couple of games this week.

The case has been made for the home side but this is a revived Blackburn Rovers. A ruthless Rovers who have now recorded back-to-back away clean sheets and have scored eight goals in their last three matches.

Tony Mowbray’s men seem to be turning a corner, there’s a touch of a feel good factor around the place at the moment and coming away from Glanford Park with three points would be the biggest win of the season so far.

The travelling band of blue and white were more than satisfied with what they saw last Saturday. But, not just the goals or result. The get up and go, the initiative the midfield took in grabbing the game and making it ours. So refreshing.

The quality and depth of squad Tony Mowbray has assembled was there for all to see on Saturday. With the game in the palm of our hands, the manager brought on the tricky Harry Chapman and the experienced Danny Graham. What a luxury to have at this level but another nod of approval to the club’s superb recruitment.

It’s so refreshing to hear the manager speak of room for improvement at the pre-match press conference today. He’s absolutely spot on. It wasn’t polished, it wasn’t perfection and many will feel Rovers could have gone up another gear.

There’s a hidden compliment within that, the fact Mowbray’s men took three points and won so comfortably away from home without playing to their full potential. The manager will be reiterating to the players how much we will need that extra gear when we face stronger opposition in Scunthorpe.

It’s difficult to call just how this one will play out, both play open and expansive football.

Both sides have plenty of goals in them and can be fairly sound defensively too. The home side will be fired up ahead of their derby day on Saturday.

Whereas the visitors will want to continue this new found momentum and rise up the league table once more.

All in all, it’s Rovers toughest test yet. Coming away with a win from this one will show everyone that Blackburn Rovers should rightly be feared and that the football club will take some stopping in the weeks to come.