1. As the Premier League season enters the final straight, 15th placed Blackburn are 7 points behind 9th placed City. Do you reckon you can finish clear of the drop zone with relative ease or there’ll be a few more nervy days to come?
Well, given the fixtures we have left there are bound to be a few nervy moments left due to the injuries that we have but we are confident that we will stay up after the crucial win at home to Wigan last Sunday.
That has given us an excellent chance to finish the job of getting to safety before the game away at Chelsea in 3 weeks time. We really don’t want to head into that game needing something as obviously that is our toughest game left.
However with Pompey and WBA at home left as well, we have a kinder fixture list than most of the teams in similar trouble.
I am 95% certain we will finish clear of the drop zone.
2. What’s the mood amongst the Rovers fans on how this season has gone and what the future holds?
The mood about this season on the whole has been one of disappointment. We finished 7th last season but this season has seen a host of changes in the management side of things (twice) and a rare lack of discipline amongst players at the club, bought about by Paul Ince.
The August – December portion of the season was a disaster. The mess is slowly being cleared up by Sam Allardyce and since then the results have picked up and the fan response to Sam has been extremely good.
Due to the lack of Premiership quality players in the squad (about 12/13 – 4 of which are injured) Big Sam has had trouble getting the best out of them – the signings made by Paul Ince have been woefully inadequate to our needs and he left them all demoralised and unfit. Players such as Martin Olsson and Danny Simpson are just not good enough for this league and these are players Sam has been left with. He has done well with a few players he painfully doesn’t feel are up to the task.
Rovers fans will be keen to forget all about this season if we stay up and concentrate on the future. We have the right man in charge now and we can all move forward. Sam doesn’t play the most attractive football, that is well documented, but he gets results and he gets passion from people – that is undeniable and if you think otherwise you are blinded by your dislike for the man.
3. What’s your view on developments at City this season? Do you think Mark Hughes can take the club forward?
The simple answer to that second question is yes. He is a great manager and we should know! He has a good coaching set up and he gets the best out of players with the right attitude. He has a solid defensive approach and likes his wingers with strong forward play built on a difficult to beat approach – thats what you can look forward to under him next season if you give him the ball and let him run with it.
The development of this season at City for my money has been fairly steady. Hughes hasn’t really improved your league position but he has put in a better long term structure at the club and a better sense of discipline than Sven had.
As for the developments in terms of the amount of money now at your disposal, I think it is wonderful! This will give everyone in the league a fresh challenge and you now have the capacity to challenge the big boys. Money City spend will be re-invested back into other clubs and we can see the best players in the league.
4. If you were Mr. Allardyce, what would be the direction of your team talk before sending your players out against City at Eastlands this weekend?
Well, City have a very good home record and are known for good attacking play through outlets such as SWP, Robinho and the excellent Stephen Ireland so the nature of the team talk should be tight marking and tough tackling with plenty of closing down. The attacking play should be direct and using the wings to get crosses into the box.
We are the away side so we need to build off a solid defensive base – which luckily under Allardyce we now have!
We have the confidence to perform now that the belief is back in the players.
The most important part of the team talk is to dangle the carrot – we need one more win to more or less guarantee staying up, you can’t get more incentive than that.
5. ‘The City Three Step challenge:’ What comes into your head when you think of Manchester City…?
…Give us first the image you see, second the feeling you get and third the word that sums us up….
I have done this one before and I have the benefit of having a Manchester City mad brother called Jonny to help me here –
1. I see the stadium and the light blue glow.
2. The feeling I get is a club struggling to break free from a shadow, but now finally having the excitement and the capacity to finally give it a go.
6. ‘Six Plus Five:’ FIFA President Sepp Blatter is continuing his campaign to impose a maximum quota of five overseas players on every English team. Do you agree or disagree with his proposal?
Not really. I can see what he is trying to do but quite frankly he is well known for being antibiased against England and it’s club sides so he is trying to re-address the balance as he knows English players are not as technically gifted as their european counterparts, but this is not the way to do it.
First problem he has is that this law is in direct violation of UK and European employment law – discrimination mainly.
Secondly, it’s not like clubs can correct the playing staff at the click of a finger and club budgets may suffer as they are forced to hold onto players no-one else wants because they can’t get rid of a Spanish wonderkid on high wages so that they can sign enough English players.
Finally, none of the national sides will actually benefit under this plan as the good English players will be likely to go abroad where they can learn new skills.
It is a poorly thought out plan with sensationalist ideas.
7. What’s your prediction for Saturday?
I am an optimistic man, but I believe City will be buoyed from their good win at Everton last weekend. Rovers are desperate for points and that will also be a key factor.
I think this could likley be a draw as we do have some sort of bogey team status at Eastlands – a 1-1 draw with Ireland and McCarthy on the scoresheet.
Very many thanks and respect to Mikey and The Vital Rovers team for this brilliant interview.
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