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Wharton starts: The predicted Blackburn Rovers XI to face Hull on Boxing Day

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Amid an exciting run of form, Blackburn Rovers have a real opportunity to continue building excitement at Ewood Park as they face Hull City away from home on Sunday afternoon.

This weekend’s visitors have won their last five league matches, kept a clean sheet in all of them and gone unbeaten in their previous eight, allowing Tony Mowbray’s men to not just force themselves into the play-offs, but also into the automatic promotion mix with the likes of Fulham, AFC Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion slipping up recently.

Ben Brereton Diaz may have been a key cog in the Lancashire outfit’s machine this term with 19 goals in 23 league appearances this term, but others have also stepped up to the plate recently in John Buckley, Reda Khadra and the likes of Jan Paul van Hecke, Darragh Lenihan and Scott Wharton and they will all continue to be crucial in their quest to push for a return to the Premier League.

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Going unbeaten in seven of their 10 league matches on the road so far in 2021/22, they will be fully confident of winning a point or three from a side that struggled in the early stages of the season and looked doomed before improving recently.

With the Tigers’ manager Grant McCann also set to miss this tie after testing positive for Covid-19, this will be a blow for the hosts, though Blackburn will be fully concentrated on the game with boss Mowbray telling his young squad to keep their feet on the ground.

Hull have been in a decent vein of form recently as well, going unbeaten in six games before their narrow defeat against Nottingham Forest last weekend, initially taking the lead through Keane Lewis-Potter before goals from Lewis Grabban and Brennan Johnson left them empty-handed at the City Ground.

Looking for redemption after that defeat in the East Midlands, they will be a dangerous opponent to come up against – but who will be tasked with going into battle with the Tigers on their own patch in what could be a crucial game for Blackburn’s promotion chances?

We predicted the starting lineup Mowbray will go with at the MKM Stadium.

After such a convincing performance against Birmingham City last weekend, winning 4-0 as they were clinical in attack and resolute in defence, you almost have no other option than to keep the lineup unchanged.

One man that could count himself unlucky not to be in the starting 11 is Aynsley Pears who stepped up admirably in Kaminski’s absence, but the latter hasn’t done anything to warrant being dropped so he continues between the sticks.

Captain Lenihan and Wharton line up alongside Brighton loanee van Hecke who has responded superbly to his red card against Fulham at the start of last month to become an influential figure at the heart of defence, even chipping in with a goal against Bournemouth earlier this month.

Their presence will allow Harry Pickering and Ryan Nyambe to push on, with many fans on social media urging the latter to sign fresh terms at the club, something he may be persuaded to do considering the excitement at Ewood Park at this moment in time.

In the middle, Lewis Travers takes his place alongside Joe Rothwell, another player Blackburn supporters will want to get signed up amid interest from Scottish Premiership champions Rangers, though it remains to be seen whether they have maintained their pursuit with Steven Gerrard moving to Aston Villa.

Scoring in the win against Birmingham, advanced midfielder Buckley will be responsible for creating once again and you certainly wouldn’t bet against him recording more goal contributions at the MKM Stadium this weekend.

He lines up behind Khadra and Brereton Diaz, both of whom have proven to be effective attacking forces. Khadra less so, but the former German youth international has proven with worth recently and popped up at crucial times.

Alongside Chilean Brereton Diaz, it would be hard to see Mowbray’s men firing a blank in this one, but they will need to ensure complacency doesn’t creep into their game.


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: Wharton starts: The predicted Blackburn Rovers XI to face Hull on Boxing Day

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