Vital Preview: Norwich City v Blackburn Rovers
Saturday 29th October 2011
The Canaries welcome bottom-of-the-table Blackburn to Carrow Road this afternoon looking for a victory which could lift them as high as sixth in the Barclays Premier League.
City are 8th in the table with 12 points from 9 games, one point behind Arsenal in 7th but a reassuring five clear of the relegation places.
Last time they out they earned a credible point in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield, and in their last home game beat fellow Premier League new boys Swansea City 3-1 thanks to goals from Anthony Pilkington (2) and Russell Martin.
Rovers have 5 points from their opening 9 games, two points adrift of safety.
Last time out they beat Newcastle 4-3 after extra-time to progress to the Carling Cup Quarter Final in midweek, and in their last away game drew 1-1 with Queens Park Rangers after Christopher Samba cancelled-out Heidar Helguson's opener.
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City boss Paul Lambert told canaries.co.uk that todays game could be the toughest of the season so far:
'This is an extremely tough game. If people think we're just going to turn up and completely roll them over, then they're wrong.
'This is a really hard game, probably the hardest game of the season for different reasons, and we'll have to be at our best to win. I'm pretty sure most of the fans realise that we aren't just going to turn up thinking it'll be a stroll.'
Speaking to rovers.co.uk, Steve Kean said he was impressed with what he saw last week at Anfield:
'I went to see Norwich play last Saturday evening when they played against Liverpool at Anfield and they were excellent.
'Liverpool came right out of the blocks early on but they hung on in there and played some lovely football and managed to get a goal. Then for the first part of the second half they were excellent and it looked like they were going to get more than they did.
'So it will be a very tough game, they've started well, they play football, they don't go out to defend they try to attack and score goals. So we'll be doing the same - it should be a good match.'
Norwich City Team News:
The City chief could go with the same starting eleven for the sixth Barclays Premier League game in a row, meaning Grant Holt having to once again make do with a place on the bench.
Long-term injury victims Daniel Ayala, James Vaughan, Elliott Ward and Korey Smith are still out, as is defender Zak Whitbread who is still to recover from his hamstring injury.
Player to watch: Anthony Pilkington
Blackburn-born Pilkington has been in fine form this month, and may think he has a point to prove against a club that let him go as a youngster.
Blackburn Rovers Team News:
Rovers welcome Scott Dann back into the squad having recovered from a calf injury and have Steven Nzonzi available again following suspension.
Junior Hoilett, Yakubu and Ruben Rochina were all substituted in the Carling Cup victory over Newcastle in midweek, but boss Steve Kean is confident all will be included in the squad.
The same can be said for Gael Givet, who played through a hamstring strain to grab the winner against the Toon.
Ryan Nelson (knee), David Dunn (calf), Vince Grella (hip) and Michel Salgado (hamstring) are all still injured.
Player to watch: Ruben Rochina
Five goals so far this season (four in the Carling Cup) shows that the Spanish striker knows where the goal is.
Norwich City: DWLWWLLD
Blackburn Rovers: LDLLWDLL
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