Premier League: Blackburn v West Bromwich Team News

Premier League: Blackburn v West Bromwich Team News

Steve Kean has to the chance to justify the owners’ faith in him by leading Blackburn into a top seven position in the Premier League with a win against West Brom at Ewood Park on Sunday.

A new contract means Kean will be Blackburn boss until 2013 with the responsibility of establishing Blackburn as challengers for European football. Three points against the visitors will see Rovers jump from the bottom half of the table to seventh, just two wins behind sixth placed Sunderland. Expectations will be high at Ewood as Blackburn look to complete the double over Sunday’s rivals having seen out 2010 with a 3-1 win at the Hawthorns thanks to a brace from Nikola Kalinic and another from Mame Biram Diuof.

Kean has boosted Rovers’ firepower by bringing back Roque Santa Cruz on a loan deal from Manchester City and the striker will be sharper after featuring for most of the second half on his return against Chelsea last weekend. Santa Cruz played with Blackburn for 2 years before being tempted away by the oil millions at City and established himself as a firm favourite with Ewood regulars scoring 23 goals in 57 appearances for the club. The Paraguayan international made an immediate impact scoring on his debut first time around and bookmakers don’t think he’ll hang around long before making his mark again, Bet365 is offering odds of 13/2 for Santa Cruz to open the scoring against the Baggies.

While Kean still has irons in the fire for the January window, the club will be buoyed by the reduction in the injured list, long term absentees Keith Andrews and Vince Grella are ready when required and David Dunn, Ryan Nelson and Steve Nzonzi should all have shaken off their knocks to give the manager plenty of selection options.

Baggies boss, Roberto Di Matteo has been searching for a solution to halt West Brom’s slide towards the drop zone, after a promising start to the season it has been a bleak couple of winter months for West Brom fans who have seen their side lose six games on the bounce, dropping to within three points of a relegation place. Peter Odemwingie brought some much need cheer with a late winner at home to Blackpool last weeked, putting an end the losing streak and with John Carew turning down Albion’s advances he remains the Baggies main attacking threat.

Di Matteo must wait on the fitness of Marc-Antoine Fortune and Giles Barnes for Sunday’s clash but Jonas Olsson is believed to have come through a workout on his Achilles and will be considered along with Graham Dorrans and Youssouf Mulumbu who are expected to have recovered from calf complaints. Steven Reid knows he will miss out against his old club, he returned to training this week after picking up a knee injury at Old Trafford on New Years Day but will need a little longer before putting it through the rigours of a competitive game.

Possible starting lineups:
BLACKBURN: Robinson, Salgado, Nelsen, Samba, Givet, E-H Diouf, Dunn, Andrews, Pedersen, Jones, Santa Cruz.
WEST BROM: Myhill, Shorey, Zuiverloon, Tamas, Olsson, Morrison, Brunt, Thomas, Dorrans, Mulumbu, Odemwingie.


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