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First team

Media View: Expert insight on Blackburn

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth will be hoping to maintain their promotion push when they visit Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers on Easter Monday (3pm kick-off).

Goals from Philip Billing, Jefferson Lerma and Dominic Solanke saw the Cherries register a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough at Vitality Stadium on Good Friday.

At the same time, Rovers went down 1-0 against Wycombe Wanderers, a defeat which extended their winless run to five games in the Championship.

Since winning back-to-back games against Middlesbrough and Luton at the end of January, Tony Mowbray’s team have taken seven points from 13 games.

Jack Stacey, Lerma and Arnaut Danjuma were on target when the Cherries triumphed 3-2 against Rovers on the opening day of the season at Vitality Stadium.

Ahead of the clash, afcb.co.uk caught up with Andy Bayes who covers the fortunes of Blackburn for BBC Radio Lancashire.

BLACKBURN ROVERS IN PROFILE

Manager: Tony Mowbray (appointed February 2017)

Club captain: Elliott Bennett

Last game: Wycombe 1-0 Blackburn (Championship)

Leading league goalscorer 2020/21: Adam Armstrong (20 in all competitions)

League position: 15th

Past six league results: WDLDDL

afcb.co.uk: Briefly summarise Rovers’s season?  

AB: A season badly affected by long-term injuries after a really promising start. By the end of January, they were still in the play-off mix but results have been disappointing since the start of February meaning that they’ve been out of the promotion race for some time. 

afcb.co.uk: Can you put your finger on why Rovers’s results have taken a turn for the worse in the past couple of months?  

AB: They haven’t scored goals as frequently after the turn of the year that they were doing before. They’ve scored more than one goal in match only three times in 2021. Possession stats and attempts on goal are still high, as is the press, but the results haven’t backed up the stats. They haven’t really been able to name a consistent line up either. More than 20 back-four combinations this season sum up the issues that they’ve had. 

afcb.co.uk: Tell us a little about Taylor Harwood-Bellis who has been receiving some excellent reviews?  

AB: He arrived from Manchester City on loan and initially was used as a sub at right-back. Since he was selected to partner Darragh Lenihan at centre-back, he’s been excellent. Competitive, loves to defend, good on the ball. He’s got a big future ahead of him. 

afcb.co.uk: Adam Armstrong has already broken through the 20-goal barrier this season – what are Rovers’s chances of keeping hold of him do you think? 

AB: You’d expect Premier League interest with the season that he’s having. If Rovers get a large offer for him, I think it would be very difficult to turn it down. He’d be a massive loss if he was to move on. 

afcb.co.uk: Who is Blackburn’s rising star? 

AB: Tyrhys Dolan is having an excellent first season. He’s been excellent playing wide or in the centre-forward position more recently in the absence of Armstrong. He’ll be looking to build on this year’s success with more appearances and goals next season. 

afcb.co.uk: Are any first-choice players either injured or suspended against the Cherries? 

AB: Bradley Dack, Scott Wharton, Daniel Ayala and Jacob Davenport are all out injured. 

afcb.co.uk: What’s your score prediction? 

AB: Rovers have run the promotion chasers pretty close this season. Norwich, Watford, Brentford and Reading are the only clubs above them in the table to have taken maximum points at Ewood Park. 

I’ll go for 1-1. 

You can follow Andy on Twitter – @AndyBayes

Officials: Darren Bond (referee), James Wilson (assistant), Matthew Jones (assistant), Oliver Langford (fourth official).

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