THE FORM GUIDE
.
Having won just one of their last ten, Blackburn have played themselves into the relegation zone. However, that solitary victory came three weeks ago against fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest and, since then, the R’s are unbeaten.
.
More important than form, however, is hope. And with 20th place Birmingham entertaining play-off bound Huddersfield this weekend, Blackburn fans can feasibly convince themselves that beating Villa may take them out of the bottom three.
.
Two weeks ago, Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray challenged his team to not go out with a
whimper, and they haven’t lost since.
.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST?
.
With the songs and celebrations of Derby day still fresh in the memory, Aston Villa’s season is now effectively over. There is no chance of promotion or relegation, and Steve Bruce’s thoughts will inevitably look to next season and working out who stays and who goes.
.
.
To make it more complicated, Blackburn are in the thick of a relegation fight, and a win for them would heap even more pressure on Birmingham City, who face relegation to the third tier of English football for the first time since 1992. Never wanting a team to lose on purpose, and possibly being in the minority that want Birmingham to stay in the Championship (how good was that atmosphere last weekend?), I personally hope we chase a top ten finish.
.
PREVIOUS FIVE
.
.
LAST TIME OUT
.
Steve Bruce made it five unbeaten as Villa ran out 2-1 winners at Villa Park. Despite going one down early in the second half, a Jonathan Kodjia double wrapped up all three points to continue a march up the table.
.
.
ONE TO WATCH
.
At just 20 years old, right winger Connor Mahoney’s performances of late have made a number of Premier League and Championship clubs take note.
.
Having started the last four games, Mahoney has four assists for the club, and has been one of the brightest sparks in a dismal campaign. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Sunderland lead the chase for the nifty playmaker.
.
GOAL THREAT
.
Since arriving from Sunderland in the summer, Danny Graham has netted 12 times in all competitions. However, with just two goals in their last four games, finding the net has been the hardest task for Blackburn.
.
.
On loan from Southampton, Sam Gallagher also has 12 goals, and scored against Bristol City in their recent 1-1 draw. Offering an aerial threat as well speed and good hold up play, it is little wonder that Villa are in contention to sign Gallagher this summer. The focus this weekend, however, will be to keep him out of the goals.
.
PREDICTION
.
Matt Lynch: I think that Blackburn will be really up for this one with the possibility of moving out of the drop zone on the horizon. Meanwhile our season sort of ended a while ago and the big one was last weekend. Now the players could well be on the beach. I’d love to win it like every other game but I somewhat feel Blackburn will be up for this one more.
.
Dan Bardell: I see this being a similar game to Burton away, Mowbray has given them a fighting chance and we are missing Jedinak, a player we always struggle without. Kodjia being back is a boost, I’d back him to hit the 20 mark at Ewood.
.
Predict a good start, with Blackburn equalising in the 2nd half and then us fighting to keep the point. 1-1
.