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Blackburn Rovers

Preparing for the worst

“It’s a good time to be playing them” has to be one of the most annoying phrases used in football.

Yet again, it was randomly thrown around before Liverpool’s visit to Ewood last night, and it was shown to be nothing more than foolish nonsense.

2-0 down inside 16 minutes, then handed a lifeline when the Reds are reduced to ten men, Rovers managed to claw themselves back into the game before throwing away what may prove to be a crucial point. Good time to play them? Clearly not.

Typically Steve Kean blamed the ref, but looking elsewhere for excuses just doesn’t cut it. Rovers are in the bottom three for a reason, and it isn’t referees.

Could anyone say with confidence they think the current playing staff has enough quality for the Premier League? You’d be hard pushed to suggest they’d have the tools available to be a force in the Championship if they are relegated.

Looking at last night’s squad makes grim reading if Rovers do go down.

Paul Robinson would surely be snapped up by someone, while Bradley Orr is a mid-table Championship player at best. There’s a reason why Scott Dann was ignored by the big clubs – he can’t defend – and Grant Hanley made Andy Carroll look great. Martin Olsson isn’t a left-back and wouldn’t stay, while his brother Marcus is quick and that’s about it.

Steven N’Zonzi looks like he can’t be bothered, so he’d be off, and David Dunn’s days as a professional footballer should be ended. Can’t run, can’t tackle and his best days are long gone.

The world and his wife seem to be raving about Junior Hoilett, and he does have the potential to be a match-winner. Despite that, he’s far too inconsistent, often lacks end product and isn’t going to stay. The same could be said of Mauro Formica and Ruben Rochina, while Yakubu would certainly be a target for the promoted clubs at the very least.

Radoslav Petrovic hasn’t shown the English game suits him, David Goodwillie isn’t “a young Wayne Rooney” but might do a job at Championship level, and Morten Gamst Pedersen hasn’t played well since the Mark Hughes days.

Gael Givet could be the rock on which a promotion bid is based, but would he want to stick around? Jason Lowe could be captain material a level down, but sub keeper Jake Kean’s only senior experience was in League One.

There’s hardly a wealth of talent after that, while anyone expecting an explosion of players to come through from this year’s youth team crop will be very disappointed – history shows not many make the step up.

All that is hardly a glowing appraisal of Steve Kean’s ability when it comes to building a team and doesn’t even take into account the Venky’s factor.

Whatever the outcome this season, Rovers are a mess. A squad that isn’t suitable for either the Premier League or the Championship – that really takes some doing.

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