Blackburn v Aston Villa 15:00 Sat
With both teams having very similar spells recently, Blackburn and Aston Villa will both be striving to get a jump on one another when the two sides clash on Saturday, as Bluesq make Steve Kean’s side the odds against favourites at Ewood Park.
Blackburn sit three places below their visitors in 18th and can climb up two places with a win this weekend.
Aston Villa also have the opportunity for ascension however and if Alex McCleish’s side can pounce on the inconsistency of Rovers, they can jump up to 13th permitting that other results go in their favour.
Steve Kean recently put an end to the internal club woe of Christopher Samba’s transfer situation after the Congolese international sealed a move to Anzhi Makhachkala.
The sale is bound to have a good impact on the squad as although they may have lost arguably their best defensive talent, the situation is done and dusted now and will ease the minds of others hoping to make their way into the starting XI.
Blackburn will be missing Gael Givet and Jason Lowe through suspension so Grant Hanley looks set to partner Scott Dann in central defence.
Villa have some injury concerns of their own and while James Collins and Alan Hutton aren’t assured to play in the fixture, Richard Dunne and Ciaran Clark definitely won’t feature after suffering shoulder and knee injuries, respectively.
Perhaps the most damaging injury though, was suffered by Darren Bent and with his manager confirming in late February that the striker had ruptured ligaments in his knee, the forward appears unlikely to feature again this season, which could also put the striker’s Euro 2012 plans on hold.
Steve Kean will no doubt see this as a superb opportunity for his Blackburn side to climb up the table as Villa will be short on firepower, with Robbie Keane having left again for the LA Galaxy, and of course Darren Bent faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Much will depend on Gabriel Agbonlahor and playmaker Stephen Ireland going forward for McLeish’s side, while Blackburn should welcome Steven Nzonzi and David Dunn back to the fold after a spell on the sidelines through injury.