Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish reckons his side were "bullied" by Rovers in the 2nd half of the encounter at Ewood on Saturday. Whether this was the case is open to conjecture but McLeishâ€™s comments have to be welcomed as it seems like an eternity since an opposition manager has given Rovers credit for getting amongst his team and imposing themselves on them.
Ewood during the mid 'noughties' was a place to avoid if you happened to be an over paid, underperforming prima donna who might be suffering a slight twinge to a hamstring or a few sniffles. Managers such as Wenger and Benitez prepared for a trip to Ewood with trepidation and in the days leading up to the visit to 'hell' were prepared to play mind games with referees warning of the consequences of being soft towards the 'bully boys'. Rovers need many more 2nd half performances like against Villa on Saturday to stay in this division.
The 1st half was dreadful but a couple of substitutions changed the course of the game and Dunny was on hand to grab a vital point. Wolves thumping at Fulham has helped Rovers to clamber out of the bottom three and the final placings could well come down to goal difference or even goals scored. The only thing consistent about the bottom five at present is the inconsistency of all the teams. No side can seemingly put a run together to break free.
We have seen what a few victories can do to help sides catapult up the table like Fulham and West Brom so if Rovers can do something they have failed to do under Steve Kean and win two games on the trot, the side may well gain enough confidence to help preserve Premier League status.
Equally, there has been no better time for that old friend, 'a clean sheet', to pay an unexpected return. 60 goals conceded this season tells its own story, but surely a big fat zero next to the opposition when the results are being read out on Sports Report must happen soon. The novelty of this would take so much pressure off the need to score at least two goals to gain a positive result.
'One-nil to the Rovers' would have a far from boring ring to it!