By Adam Smith
Blackburn Rovers will be looking to continue their fine form in the Championship when they welcome Cardiff City to Ewood Park on Saturday.
The Lancashire side currently sit in 6th place in the league after their convincing back-to-back victories against Wycombe Wanderers and Derby County, and will be looking to defeat one of last season’s playoff semi-finalists.
The bluebirds find themselves in 16th after losing two of their three league games, most recently losing 2-1 to table-toppers Reading after a 2-0 away victory against Nottingham Forest.
Rovers will be without right-back Joe Rankin-Costello after he picked up a hamstring injury against Derby.
Ryan Nyambe looks set to replace the 21-year-old, who has featured in every game so far this season.
Lewis Travis is set for three months on the side-lines after undergoing surgery following an injury against Newcastle in the Carabao Cup.
Cardiff City boss Neil Harris will be hoping to have midfield kingpin Joe Ralls and Joe Bennet fit for the weekend after they both missed out on their side’s defeat to Reading.
Manager Tony Mowbray has implemented a new 4-3-3 system which has led to a flurry of goals for Blackburn so far, with the club scoring 11 goals in the Championship. That is more goals scored than any other club in the division.
Striker Adam Armstrong is thriving in the new formation, scoring five goals in three games and is currently the league’s top scorer. He scored a hatrick against Wycombe Wanderers and grabbed Blackburn’s fourth against Derby County.
The unexpected contribution of youngster Tyrhys Dolan has excited Rovers fans, adding some much needed flair and pace to Blackburn’s frontline. Dolan was released from Preston’s youth setup and was set to be a part of Blackburn’s academy.
However, after impressing in pre-season, Mowbray decided to throw Dolan in the deep end and keep him involved in the first team. Since then, he has thrived, scoring two goals in as many games and impressing fans with his lightning pace and quick feet.
Rovers have also come out of their past two fixtures without conceding a goal, giving them a much needed boost in confidence in defence.
Manager Tony Mowbray had come under fire in recent weeks for his lack of defensive additions to the squad. However, the partnership of Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams has worked a treat so far. New signing Daniel Ayala will be pushing for a place in the starting 11 when fully fit.
A win for Rovers could take them to the top of the table should results go their way, whilst their opponents could reach as high as 7th should they take all three points.