Season Preview: Blackburn Rovers

Overall Outlook - Speculation about a potentially deep-pocketed Indian buyer for the club aside, the hope for Rovers fans has to be that they can tread water this season as they search for more stable footing as Jack Walker's estate becomes less and less able to keep up financially with the rest of the league.  In Sam Allardyce they have a manager who is used to punching above his (ahem) weight with a limited budget but in the absence of any established strikers as of this writing you have to wonder if Big Sam and Rovers have what it takes to grind their way to safety while they wait for funds to arrive.  If David Dunn spends more than a few matches in the training room as opposed to on the pitch you have to think that Rovers will be in a relegation battle all season.

Projected Starters - Robinson, Givet, Nelsen, Samba, Salgado, Pedersen, N'zonzi, Dunn, Diouf, Kalinic.

In the Rotation - Roberts, Chimbonda, Emerton, Andrews, Olsson, Jacobson, Hoilett, Grella, Jones

Kicks - Depending on which foot gives Rovers the best advantage MGP or Dunn will get the vast majority of the kicks with Dunn taking them to greater effect last season as MGP's star fades.


  • Not a single one so far which will need to change quickly for a team in dire need of some striking power ASAP unless Kalinic (see below) is ready to take a HUGE leap forward;
Rising Youth

  • Kalinic, F - Billed as the "future of Croatian football" he only had 8 SOTs and 2 goals in 14 starts and 12 substitute appearances so something has to give.  With the departure of Benni McCarthy and loanee di Santo he should have every opportunity to take the step that everyone predicts for him;
  • Jones, D - An up-and-coming central defender who received strong reviews last season in limited minutes.  If Samba or Nelsen go down this year you can expect Givet to stay on the left and Jones to be the presumed deputy in  the middle which is good for all concerned.  If it looks like he is going to get an extended run with some decent match-ups, he's worth a look because he'll likely be cheap.
  • Hoilett, M - Capable of playing both on the right of midfield and at striker, the 20 year old Canadian is definitely one to watch for fantasy managers wondering who, if anyone, is going to score for Rovers this season.  With McCarthy and Di Santo both gone and Roberts not in favor with anyone its down to Kalinic, Diouf, and Hoilett until Big Sam buys someone else.  Hoilett/Kalinic are going to have to be exciting if Rovers are going to stay up.  A bigger bonus is that he's got a good chance to play striker while listed as a midfielder in the Yahoo game.
Fantasy Breakdown
  • Best - Assuming he's healthy David Dunn is coming off of an excellent year that saw him return to being one of the better available fantasy midfielders as he accumulated goals, assists, SOTs, successful crosses, etc with the only hole in his game the 7 YCs he picked up in the process;
  • Best Value (non-newcomer) - Rovers actually have a decent number of players who are value for the money including Givet, Olsson, and (believe it or not) Robbo but the hidden value last year - when he started - was Brett Emerton.  Yahoo moved him up to midfield for this season so his value is likely to decline but if he gets a run in midfield, he may yet represent some solid value.
  • Best Projected Value - With no new players in the door as of yet, you have to wonder if Big Sam is considering moving Chris Samba up front on a regular basis and back-filling him in defence with highly touted youngster Phil Jones. If that happens Samba and Jones will both represent exceptional value with Samba likely to be a better version of Kevin Davies from Big Sam's Bolton days with the added bonus of being listed as a defender and picking up clean sheet points.  I don't have any inside scoop that this is going to happen but since there's nothing else to fill this spot, I figured I'd daydream for a little bit on behalf of all fantasy managers.
  • Worth Considering With Good Match-ups -  Dunn, MGP, Samba, Givet, Robbo
  • Worth Knowing If He's Starting - Jones, Olsson, Hoilett, Kalinic, Emerton

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