By Andrew Robinson
Wolves v Blackburn, 7.45pm, Sky Sports 1
Wolverhampton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers are two clubs in turmoil, and the pair meet on Friday in a crucial Championship clash, which could go some way to decide the way the rest of their season go.
It’s certainly not a good year to be a Norwegian manager in the Championship, as Blackburn gave Henning Berg the boot after just ten games and Stale Solbakken was given his marching orders last weekend.
The circus that is Venky’s looks determined to ruin the Lancashire club and there has been nothing but upheaval and turmoil since the Indian owners took over.
Sam Allardyce’s sacking was followed by fan protests against Steve Kean and a bizarre chicken advert using the players.
The chaos led to the relegation of the club from the top flight and the departure of some top names. The latest bizarre chapter came when Kean was sacked with the team in the promotion spots. His replacement lasted just ten games and Shebby Singh has become a laughing stock for the way he is going about getting in a new man.
Michael Appleton, who is getting a reputation for being the go-to man in a crisis, after his stint at Portsmouth, is the latest man to be lined up for the job, but Blackpool have laughed off Blackburn’s approach.
Despite the off-field issues, Gary Bowyer, along with a sprinkling of advice from Danny Murphy, has got his side playing well. Three wins in a row, with eight goals for and just one against, is promotion form.
Bowyer is crediting Murphy with a major contribution to the turnaround, ‘He’s a great influence on the pitch, he’s got a good opinion on football and he’s shared that with myself and Terry. We’ve taken it on board because he’s been there, seen it and done it’.
Could this be Blackburn’s year? Paddy Power have them at 7/1 to be pulling on their boots in the top league next season.
All really depends on who the owners bring in. Will it be a Bollywood star? Ronaldinho? Or Sven-Goran Eriksson? He loves a ‘challenge’, or maybe it’s just the money that comes with a sacking.
While the job at Ewood Park seems to be a poisoned chalice, the one at Molineux was snapped up by former Doncaster Rovers boss Dean Saunders.
The Welshman takes charge of his first game on Friday since the sacking of Solbakken and he’s got quite a job to do. Wolves are in 18th in the Championship, just six points off the drop zone.
Confidence is shot as well. They were beaten by Conference Premier side Luton in the FA Cup last weekend – not the best run for a side tipped to take the league by storm!
The last two home games against Peterborough and Ipswich, two sides scrapping it out at the bottom with them, ended in 3-0 and 2-0 losses respectively, pretty humiliating as former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy is in charge of the Tractor Boys.
They are now just 14/1 to make it back-to-back relegations. The fans must be wishing Big Mick was still prowling the touchline.
Maybe the Norwegian had lost the dressing room and Saunders will get them up for the game on Friday. They are 7/5 to pick up a much-needed home win and give their long-suffering fans something to shout about.
Blackburn are on offer at 15/8 to continue their current run and with a finisher like Jordan Rhodes in the side anything can happen. He’s 9/2 to open the scoring on Friday.
With so much riding on the game, it could be a tight affair. The last meeting ended in a 1-0 Wolves win. Paddy Power is offering a juicy 11/4 on the game having 0 or 1 goal, a good shout considering how nervous both sides will be.