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Rankin-Costello starts: The predicted Blackburn Rovers XI to face Sheffield United on Saturday



Blackburn Rovers will be desperate to redeem themselves for a midweek horror show against Fulham on Wednesday night, falling to a brutal 7-0 defeat and looking extremely weak against the Cottagers.

Jan Paul van Hecke’s red card on the half-hour mark can be partially blamed for such a resounding defeat, but the fact is they were outclassed by a team gunning for promotion and failed to stand up against a lethal Fulham attack, also not being able to make any sort of breakthrough going forward.

After their impressive 2-1 win against Derby County, who are usually a reasonably solid side, fans would have been hoping for much more considering the fact Marco Silva’s men had already been beaten by Blackpool, Reading and Coventry City this term.

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However, Tony Mowbray’s side need to put this behind them quickly as they face another tough test against recently relegated outfit Sheffield United, returning to Ewood Park again after a midweek mauling in Lancashire and will need to be on their A-game to nullify a United side that will be desperate to win after dropping points against Nottingham Forest and Blackpool in the last seven days.

With the home advantage and Slavisa Jokanovic’s men’s inconsistencies though, the outcome of this match is arguably down to the hosts and after such a disappointing result two days ago, they will be hoping to go into the international break off the back of a positive result.

What starting lineup will Mowbray go with though amid injury concerns and a recent hammering?

We have made our own prediction on this very subject – but let us know if you would change anything!

Thomas Kaminski starts again, having not been at fault for such a heavy hammering against Fulham. His call-up from Belgium during the European Championships in the summer shows how highly he’s rated at an international level and there should be no knee-jerk reaction to change him.

One player who does come out is Tayo Edun who was poor and is replaced by Joe Rankin-Costello. It might be a risk considering he’s only just come back from a long-term absence – but one or two heads needed to roll after Wednesday.

He is one of two changes in the backline with Hayden Carter replacing the suspended van Hecke, although both Darragh Lenihan and Ryan Nyambe can count themselves lucky not to be dropped. If Harry Pickering and Daniel Ayala were available, their starting spots would have been in real danger.

But the experienced Bradley Johnson is one player who drops out along with Edun for a poor performance in midweek, providing Sam Gallagher can return to full fitness in time for tomorrow afternoon’s clash.

With this, Lewis Travis and Joe Rothwell strike up a familiar partnership from earlier in the season, giving John Buckley the license to go forward and be a real threat.

The quartet of Buckley, Gallagher, Ben Brereton Diaz and Tyrhys Dolan will be vital in taking pressure off the defence with their goals and attacking energy, a real strength that Tony Mowbray’s side have in their armoury and something they need to utilise against a leaky Sheffield United side that have struggled to keep clean sheets this term.

Brereton Diaz will be particularly vital after scoring 12 times in 16 second-tier matches so far this season – and could be the match-winning again against the Blades if he can find his shooting boots. He will need adequate service though, something the other three are likely to provide if they are on their A-game.

Predicted Substitutes: Pears, Edun, Wharton, Johnson, Clarkson, Poveda, Khadra

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Rankin-Costello starts: The predicted Blackburn Rovers XI to face Sheffield United on Saturday

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