Friday, 22 August 2014

Cherry Chimes talks to Rover Stan

Rival Lines
Blogger Interview: Rover Stan
Batch Preview Blackburn Rovers v AFCB

I managed to catch up with Rover Stan who we talked to last season to get his opinion on the current Blackburn Rovers team and to see how well he thinks they are playing at the moment. here are his thoughts ahead of the match against AFCB. Make sure you drop in on his site at RoverStan.

CC: What is the best thing to have happened to Blackburn Rovers over the summer - Jordan Rhodes' new contract?

RS: A new contract for Rhodes was a real bonus for the club. Whilst there's no guarantee he'll stay, if anyone wants him they will have to stump up big money to get him. The best thing to happen over the Summer has to be the sound of silence, with Rovers for once out of the headlines.

CC: You had a good run towards the play-offs last season what reasons have Blackburn fans to be more optimistic of a top six finish this season?

RS: The squad is settled and morale seems to be good. They certainly gave it their best shot towards the end of last season before finally finishing in 8th position. The high wage earners have had to go to comply with the new Financial Fair Play rules but Gary Bowyer has assembled a new squad that is keen to play for him, whilst being considerably cheaper.

CC: Are you pleased that Leon Best has gone on loan to Derby County, a possible promotion rival?

RS: I think most Rovers fans are delighted to see the back of Leon Best. He looked good in pre-season games when he first arrived but after he came back from injury he has never produced a good performance. He did quite well at Sheffield Wednesday at the end of last season but his high wages make him an unattractive buy.

CC: What do you expect to see from new signings Luke Varney and Chis Brown this season?

RS: Chris Brown and Luke Varney have been signed as cover up front. Varney didn't impress last season on loan and hasn't improved so far this season. We haven't seen Brown play yet as he's injured but reports suggest he could be a useful addition to the squad.

CC: Is Paul Robinson still up the task in goal?

RS: Yes, is the simple answer to that question. His experience will be invaluable this season. It's like having a second captain on the field. His job has not been helped by injuries to Tommy Spurr and Matt Kilgallon, which leaves us short of quality in defence, although we have signed Alex Baptiste on loan for the season from Bolton Wanderers. Expect Robinson to want to be part of the promotion party.

CC: Grant Hanley has to be one of the best centre backs in the division so are you surprised to have kept hold of him?

RS: It's hard to believe that Grant has come so far in such a short space in time. He's now played 102 1st team games for Rovers and currently wears the Captain's armband at just 22 years of age. He certainly wants to show who's boss against any opposition but has been prone to the odd rash challenge, leading to a red card. Another good season with Rovers will surely put him firmly on the radar of other clubs.

CC: What does Rudy Gestede give you that other strikers at the club don't?

RS: Gestede is the perfect partner for Jordan Rhodes up front. He's a target man, good with his feet and excellent in the air. He's taken some of the pressure off Rhodes who has inevitably found himself tightly marked last season. Confidence grows when you score goals and that's just what he's done.

CC: Was there anything you saw that was encouraging in your first game against Cardiff City?

RS: All the signs were there of a team that are playing for each other and keen to carry on from where they left off last season. Tom Cairney scored a goal worthy of inclusion in the Goal of the Season competition. Expect more from him in the coming months. Rovers have been guilty of not delivering the ball to the front men but Craig Conway was desperate to impress against his old club. Conway regularly claimed the Man of the Match award last season and looked like he wants to continue this time around.

CC: Did you feel the team played a lot better against Blackpool and Norwich?

RS: 3 League games. A draw, a win and a defeat. I think the performances have been OK so far. Rhodes is carrying a bit of an injury and having two key defenders out of action doesn't help. By all accounts we should have had a penalty against Norwich and we played well despite losing 3-1. I expect them to come out all guns blazing against Bournemouth. Watch out!

CC: What should AFCB fans make sure they see when they come to Blackburn? (It's a long trip after all)

RS: If you've never been to Blackburn Rovers before then you should take a few minutes to walk round to the Blackburn end where you will find the RoverStore. All the usual stuff, shirts, scarves etc plus the gnomes which are probably just like Bournemouth gnomes but ours are Blue & White. You might find on a rack in the centre of the store last seasons home programmes where there may be a copy of the Bournemouth game. Outside you should look at the statue of Jack Walker our beloved benefactor who was responsible for rebuilding this club and achieving all our dreams in winning the Premier League trophy in 1995. As you go back round to the Darwen End you will see the blue sliding doors where the players enter as they come off the coach. Look carefully and you may catch a glimpse of the trophy in a glass case on the wall. Another nice touch to look out for is the photographs on the overhead walkways linking the Jack Walker stand to the Darwen End and Blackburn End. Our club history for all to see.

CC: How is Ewood Park looking these days?

RS: The pitch is looking superb at the moment. You should also find good facilities in the Darwen End. The pies aren't bad either!

CC: What is your score prediction for Blackburn v AFCB?

RS: I'm afraid after our defeat in midweek against Norwich the boys in Blue & White will want to get back to winning ways. Its going to be a Rovers win 4-1 with Gestede getting a hat trick! But then I would say that wouldn't I.
Regards to The Cherries Supporters!

CC: Thank you RoverStan for such a wealth of information about your team and the aspirations of many Blackburn Rover fans I am  sure. While I am sad that I can't come and visit your ground for this game it may be good if the game goes as you predict. Still I aim to come and see the jack Walker statue at some point and maybe if Blackburn and AFCB get promoted I'll be able to do it in the Premier League nest season! All you AFCB fans should go and have a good read of RoverStans' blog as you will not find a better source of information on the Blue & Whites.

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