We have had a good record against Blackburn in recent seasons. And of course last year Freddie Sears scored against them. I suspect he won’t be in the starting eleven this afternoon, but a repeat performance from him would be very welcome, and some would say long overdue.
The good news is that Kieron Dyer is likely to play some part, as he now recovered from his latest injury setback. Diego Tristan is also likely to play, I’d say. Blackburn are a very big, physical side and I’m not sure a front two of Di Michele and Sears would work. Indeed, it may be that Zola opts for a 4-5-1 formation as Cole is still suspended.
In midfield, both Stanislas and Savio are said to have minor knocks. Personally, I’d like to see more of Stanislas but recognise it is very unfair to drop Savio after one start. But if he is likely to break down injured, then best not to start at all.
In defence I have no idea if Matty Upson is likely to have recovered or not. If not, as I suspect is the case, Lucas Neill will deputise in the centre, with Jonathan Spector continuing at right back.
This is very much a second string eleven, but Blackburn are in a bad place at the moment and there is certainly the potential to get something from this game. We need to keep a gap between us and Fulham, Man City and Wigan, so three points this afternoon would do very nicely. This would be the team I would pick…