My travels around the country have today taken me to the heart of industrial Lancashire, and there – nestling amongst the cotton mills, the floodlights of Ewood Park shine out and illuminate a man known only as “Hughes da Man” – the editor of the Vital Blackburn Site.
Quickly, before the lights went out and we were plunged into Northern darkness, I asked him a few questions ahead of our forthcoming fixture:
Cutting straight to the chase, what do you think of your performances so far this season?
We started very well, but recently we’ve lost the fluency that we’ve had and have (on the whole) been very poor recently, overall though we have been pretty good on the whole though so far.
What areas of your squad need strengthening?
Defence!!! I didn’t think I would be saying that, but we are shipping a lot of goals now, a right-back (and a proper right-back) is needed, also more creativity in central midfield is also needed.
Who’s been your form player so far? Who do we need to look out for?
I’d have to say Roque Santa Cruz. He started the season very well, was injured then had a quiet spell but he has come back with a bang. You’d expect some joy after five goals in two games but he’s got nothing. He’s on fire at the moment, so watch him.
What do you think of Chelsea, as if we needed to ask?
As I’ve told the dudes on Vital Chelsea before I like Chelsea, I have no problems with you lot and you play good football. I can’t see why so many have a problem, jealousy perhaps?!?!
Are you impressed by what the manager’s doing, or do you think Abramovich has a right to expect us to walk the League?
I think Avram Grant is doing well, if honest better than I thought, but still think letting Jose Mourinho go was a mistake by Abramovich but he’s the boss isn’t he. However if Abramovich would really expect you to walk the League then he’s in the wrong business!!!
Which of our current squad do you most admire?
Petr Cech easily, you have a lot of world class players but they don’t get any better than your goalkeeper, the only one that I would replace Brad Friedel with! I admire the way he conducts himself (or appears to) away from the field as well.
You were the last English team to face Jose Mourinho, what differences do you expect to see now Avram is “at the helm”?
I’m not really sure, will there be much difference really?!?!
How will you deal with Chelsea? Do you stuff the midfield, or will we see a more adventurous line-up?
Personally I expect Sparky to want us to go out and play our usual game (no NOT beat people up if that is what you, like so many others think we do!) obviously we won’t be going all out attack, but we are the home side so we should play basically the usual game despite this being against Chelsea.
Where will you finish this season?
The hope was for a top six finish, maybe (even if unlikely) breaking into the top four. We are still only four points or so off Manchester City who are in fourth despite a shocking run recently, so the season isn’t over by a long way. Getting out of this run needs to happen soon, but top six still has to be a realistic aim at the moment.
What about Chelsea?
Top three, but I think that it will be third behind Arsenal and Manchester United (in that order.)
Give us a score prediction.
I would like to say a Rovers win, and will not write this off but would be happy with a point even though we are the home side. We’ve put in good performances against you all too often recently and got nothing, we got a little lucky at Stamford Bridge, so hopefully we can get this at Ewood Park this Sunday also.
Thanks “Hughsie” – a surprising lack of bitterness there from a fan who watched Michael Ballack no less put his team out of the FA Cup Semi Final last season there! Enjoy the game, and good luck (particularly to Sparkie, Kevin & Eddie) for the rest of the season.