Sheffield Wednesday: The man the Owls should be wary of on Saturday, according to a Blackburn Rovers writer
Sheffield Wednesday make the trip to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday hoping to keep a run of form going that sees them sat in fifth position in the Championship.
The hosts are on a bad run and sandwiched between matches against high-flying Leeds United and Swansea City, Garry Monk’s men will be hoping to bag three points on the road as they approach the next valuable international break.
We asked the Lancashire Telegraph’s Rovers writer Rich Sharpe for the inside track on all things Blackburn ahead of the Owls’ visit.
Blackburn sit 17th in the Championship table. How is the season going so far?
It’s one that’s yet to get going. They’re in something of a rut at the minute, with four defeats in six and two points from the last 18 available. They’ve twice won back-to-back league games, but have struggled for consistency. A failure to come from behind to win a game since April 2018, and not taking advantage of winning positions has made for a worrying combination. Tony Mowbray stated his ambition to push for the top six, but despite plenty of promise, they have unperformed so far. The injuries to Darragh Lenihan and Greg Cunningham have hit them really hard.
Rovers went two up only to lose 3-2 at Preston last weekend. Are they reeling from that?
It just compounded what’s been a difficult run. They were good for 45 minutes at Huddersfield and again at Preston, but aren’t turning those good periods in to points. They were also desperately poor for 45 minutes at Birmingham last midweek. What Rovers you get you don’t really know from one half to the next. I’d be amazed having watched the second half of the Preston defeat that Wednesday don’t go with Fletcher and Nuhiu as a strike partnership.
Sam Gallagher claimed both goals in that game. How is he settling in to life in Blackburn?
The first one at Preston has gone down as a Declan Rudd own goal, but there was no doubt about the second. Gallagher said that was little solace given the result, but I’m sure it will have eased some of the pressure that was building having not scored a league goal since January 2018. There’s been no shortage of workrate and endeavour, but he’s struggled to live up to his £5m price-tag. He and Rovers fans alike will hope that will be the spark he needs, but he’ll first be looking for an extended run as a central striker having been in and out, and used on the wing, of late.
What style of play should Wednesday expect from Tony Mowbray's men?
Rovers are trying to play more of possession-based style than we’ve seen for the last 18 months, and while they have dominated the ball more this season, they’ve struggled to turn that in to chances. Though given their need for a result, they may well move back to their high intensity, more direct style that served them well in the promotion season and for much of last year. Almost exclusively they play 4-2-3-1.
Who are the players that make Rovers tick?
Bradley Dack is their main source of goals and on his day is among the best in the Championship. He picks up intelligent positions and knows how to sniff out a chance in the six yard box. With Danny Graham sidelined for much of the season, Dack is yet to fully strike up a similar understanding, but in Lewis Holtby against Huddersfield there were promising signs, but the German has missed the last two matches through injury.