Saturday's big match preview

Blackburn Rovers v West Ham Utd Saturday, March 21, 3pm Ewood Park WHEN THESE two sides met a couple of seasons ago, it was the Hammers who were fighting for their lives and desperate for a win in a bid to stay in the Premier League. A battling performanc

Blackburn Rovers v West Ham Utd

Saturday, March 21, 3pm

Ewood Park

WHEN THESE two sides met a couple of seasons ago, it was the Hammers who were fighting for their lives and desperate for a win in a bid to stay in the Premier League.


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A battling performance and a lot of luck earned them a 2-1 victory that day and kick-started their Great Escape, and Blackburn will be looking for something similar at Ewood Park on Saturday.

Of course, they are not in anywhere near such a precarious position as West Ham found themselves in, when a Carlos Tevez penalty and a Bobby Zamora goal that never crossed the line earned the Hammers the points.

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But lying sixth from bottom and just a point above the drop zone means they too are battling for every point.

Rovers gave Paul Ince just 21 games to come to terms with the rigours of the Premier League before sacking him, but the arrival of former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has certainly bolstered their survival hopes.

Allardyce seems to like nothing more than beating the Hammers and castigating them at the same time, and he will be looking for more of the same on Saturday.

It won't be easy for Rovers though. Their 4-0 thumping at Arsenal last weekend, put them back in the mire, while at home in recent weeks they have been held by Everton and Coventry City, as well as being beaten by Aston Villa.

However, fine 2-1 wins at Fulham and Hull City recently show they are certainly not a team to treat lightly.

Rovers lost Brad Friedel and David Bentley at the start of the season and struggled to replace them with the likes of Paul Robinson, Vince Grella and in January, El Hadji Diouf.

They did hold on to Roque Santa Cruz, who is now injured, while they will also be without Brett Emerton and Steven Reid for the rest of the season.

West Ham also won at Ewood Park last season thanks to a Dean Ashton goal, while earlier in the campaign they recorded a flattering 4-1 victory over Rovers with two goals in injury time.

Benni McCarthy is the top scorer with 10, but has recently been on the bench, with Jason Roberts (7) the current big threat.

With Carlton Cole completing his suspension in this game, the Hammers may struggle to score, but they should be good enough to grab a draw against a team battling for their lives.

Probable team: Robinson, Ooijer, Samba, Nelsen, Mokoena, Andrews, Tugay, Warnock, Pedersen, Diouf, Roberts.

Prediction:

Blackburn 1 West Ham 1

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