Ahead of what we desperately hope will be one of our finest hours, I’ve been stateside (not literally) and been chatting with Dirk Copland, the man behind Blackburn’s biggest and best vlog – Blackburn Roverseas.
Before we get stuck into Saturday’s game, tell us a bit about your Rovers journey and how a resident of Pennsylvania is now responsible for Rovers’ most-watched podcast? Been across The Pond for long?
Well hello! As an army brat growing up one of our many homes was in Lancashire, and that’s where my love for Blackburn Rovers grew. I took my Rovers obsession with me as we continued to move around Europe, until I broke away from home to join the Royal Air Force.
After 12 years’ service (man and boy), and a chance meeting with my future American spouse, we upped sticks and move over to Pennsylvania. It was prior to this “big move” that I started to get interested in making video content, and I sort out an official qualification to ensure the new world I was entering that I was serious about following my passion that was video production.
Once we had become settled in Pennsylvania and after a distinct lack of creative output from my new career I decided to venture into the world of online videos, and thus Blackburn Roverseas was born.
The channel initially started as a hub for our “Psychic Cat” Cass and her World Cup predictions, however, I wanted to explore more, and decided to use the channel as means as an output for my love of video production and my obsession with Blackburn Rovers. In a nutshell, we have been in the US since late 2011, with the channel active since 2014.
Your lads are on a tidy run right now – four wins on the spin. Given that we’re on a run of four straight draws (inconvenient as they’ve been in the circumstances), are we right to be concerned about Saturday night? Do you have history as party-poopers?
I believe you should have some concerns as since we have sealed our Championship status the pressure appears to have been removed on some of the players. We have always been able to find the back of the net this season, and that continues to this day, however its out defense that’s seen a rapid boost, with Derrick Williams and Darragh Lenihan who have been mashed together in this recent run, and to me they look like they have been playing together for years.
Don’t get me wrong, Norwich ARE Premier bound, however I think we could give you guys a headache or two come Saturday.
We hear plenty about the Bradley Dack/Danny Graham combo and, obviously, we’re familiar with that nice Elliott Bennett, but who else has caught the eye this season? We also know a lot about Harrison Reed, who we also had on a season-long loan. Great little player, eh?
The season saw many of the regular faces from our League One campaign adapt to Championship football. Dack and DG have been immense, and Charlie Mulgrew has had another amazing return of goals as a centre-back and club skipper.
However, in recent weeks, it’s been a resurgence for Joe Rothwell, a player we picked up from Oxford in the summer. He didn’t fit in Mowbray’s game plan at the start of the season, as he lacked some of the attributes the gaffer desired, however since the new year, Rothwell has adapted his game, but kept the good stuff that Mowbray fell in love with.
He has been like a lightning bolt in our attacking trio in midfield and has managed to add goals to his game too. Besides Joe, we also have a young hungry midfielder in Lewis Travis. He broke into the first team at the end of last season and looks fresh and hungry each game. Expecting him to take off big style next season.
Reedy started the season in amazing style but has recently picked up a niggle and looks like he has played his last minutes for us this season.
You look almost certain to finish “mid-table” … is that in line with expectations at the start of the season, or was a shot at the top six being talked about? What does Mowbray need to do over the summer to make next season an even better one?
This year was a season to see if the League One lads could “cut the mustard” in the Championship. Some stood up to the challenge, others have fallen short.
I expect (if given the backing by our lovely owners) Mowbray to bring in four or five experienced bodies to come into the first team squad. One or two established centre backs must at the top of the list, a veteran goalkeeper to push our young goalie Raya to the limit, a “Sgt Major” type in midfield, and perhaps a winger or two.
I think we have the goalscorers in DG, young Ben Brereton, Adam Armstrong and we have Dominic Samuel yet to come back from injury. The youth setup looks promising too, and I hope we can see some of those lads get a crack next season too.
What type of side will Mowbray put out on Saturday? Will he be likely to go all out for two wins in your final two fixtures (six wins on the bounce would be a mighty fine way to end the season), or will he use the games to experiment?
I was hoping to see more youngsters play from the off since we confirmed our safety, however, with the winning streak gathering pace the gaffer has opted to start a reasonably strong XI, and more recently including a few Under-23s on the bench.
I see this format continuing for the match on Saturday, as its also in front of the Sky cameras. Our backup keeper has been getting some game time too, despite how horrific he can be. Expect the key players to feature, however, a sprinkle of youth should be available from the bench.
You kicked a few lumps out of us in the reverse fixture – we just scraped a 1-0 – but I’m not sure that was a fair reflection on Mowbray’s style of football. How would you describe?
Mowbray likes to see his team with the ball at their feet. Despite the gaffer being a defender by trade, the man loves some attacking football. Even when losing, he is more on the lines of continuing to “go for it” instead of admitting defeat.
I recall him saying something on the lines of “you get the same amount of points for losing 1-0 than you do 5-0” that has been the attitude in games against Bristol City, Preston and Sheffield Wednesday this season.
Despite some of the heavy beatings we have been given, it’s still a breath of fresh air when compared to some of the tripe we watched with Coyle, Lambert and Co. Mowbray is a footballing man, and he loves to keep the ball moving, and loves a goal or three.
And so… standard question… score prediction? You’re going to spoil our party? You do realise we only need a point for promotion, right? Surely you’ll not deny us East Anglian simpletons our moment of glory and pi$$ on our strawberries? ?
Despite our recent form and your quest for the title, I think we will get something from this match, probably another draw on the cards. We will take the lead, and you will find your bit of magic in the end to start the celebrations at Carrow Road. 1-1 for me!
In a nutshell, I look at what Farke has done for Norwich this season and hope we can achieve something similar next year. You guys were 14th/15th last season and look at you now!
If we can have half the season you lot had next year, I will be beyond happy! As a kind request, can we borrow Farke’s scouting team for the summer, as he found some absolute gems for your promotion campaign. Enjoy the ride Canaries!
Thanks for that mate, and also for the kind words. We’d willingly lend you our recruitment team for the summer but fear they may be otherwise occupied!
Let’s be honest, IF it happens, we would have wanted this way, right? Under the lights, at a packed Carrow Road, on a Saturday night, rather than heading back to Norfolk on the A14. Avoiding defeat will seal promotion in the last home game and allow us to show our appreciation of what Daniel and his Band of Brothers have achieved on the obligatory lap of honour.
This season has had more twists and turns than a corkscrew so it would be typical if Blackburn ‘spoil the party’ but somehow, it just feels right.
Like the Championship, our tipster league is looking like a two-horse race for the title, with table-topping Stew battling it out with Andy for the accolades. Like Leeds, Martin has fallen away at the death, Steve effectively ‘needs snookers’, whilst Gary will be desperate for a point or two to show that he knows more about football than random score predictor Siri. At the bottom, the Opposition contributors, have fewer points than Ipswich, which is a feat in itself.
Over to you, lads…
Penney predicts: Hardest game of the season to guess the score of tbh. Where will our heads (and indeed bodies) be? We are long overdue this scoreline so for me it’s an immensely satisfying, if frustrating, 0-0.
Andy assumes: With Sheffield United top of the table by the time we kick off this will be our last chance saloon for the title. I think those lads that were lying out for the count on Monday will seize their chance to respond and produce a comfortable, thrilling 3-1 win.
Gaz guesses: Given I’ve now got Siri breathing down my neck, I really need to achieve a season’s first and get a score right! Not happening though, so what I can definitively say is, it won’t be City 2 Rovers 0 (even though that’s my prediction).
Cookie concludes: The Brentford result will surely have lifted a huge weight off the player’s shoulders and we should see them back to their best. Blackburn in form, but with a title to win, I can see us coming out on top. 3-0 City
Stew suspects: Will Blackburn be QPR, or Sheffield Wednesday? Will be it a celebratory romp or a nail-biter? Probably the latter – but I’m going for us to prevail, eventually in style. 4-1 Norwich
The oppo’s opinion:
Siri says: The answer is Norwich 3 – Blackburn 2
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