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Season preview: Blackburn Rovers

Season preview: Blackburn Rovers
© PA Photos
Sports Mole gazes into its crystal ball to analyse Blackburn Rovers' prospects for the upcoming Championship campaign.

With less than a week until the Championship season gets underway, Sports Mole inspects Blackburn Rovers' summer so far and the club's prospects for the upcoming 2013-14 campaign.


Devarn Green (from Burton Albion, Undisclosed), DJ Campbell (from Queens Park Rangers, Free), Simon Eastwood (From Portsmouth, Free), Alan Judge (From Notts County, Free), Matt Kilgallon (From Sunderland, Free), Alex Marrow (From Crystal Palace, Free), Chris Taylor (From Millwall, Free), Todd Kane (From Chelsea, Loan)


Anton Forrester (To Bury, Loan), Martin Olsson (To Norwich, £2.5m), Chris Dilo (To St Mirren, Free
Ashley Eastham (to Rochdale, Free), Adam Evans (To Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Free), David Goodwillie (To Dundee United, Loan), Micah Evans (Released), Reece Hands (Released), Ryan Humphreys (Released), Danny Laverty (Released), Jamie Maclaren (Released), Osayamen Osawe (Released), Peter Wylie (Released)

Last Season: 17th

Manager: Gary Bowyer

Three key players:

Grant Hanley© PA Photos
Grant Hanley - He seems to have been around for quite a while, but Scottish international centre-back Hanley is just 21 years old. Despite this young age, he has already made 70 senior appearances for Rovers in both the Premier League and the Championship. When playing alongside skipper Scott Dann, the Rovers backline looks one of the sturdiest in the division and they could be a duo for many years to come. Potential buyers won't be getting their hands on the Scot for cheap anytime soon as he recently signed a new five-year contract.

Jason Lowe© PA Photos
Jason Lowe - A defensive midfielder who has been at the club for 10 years since he was 11, Lowe is a rare success story to come out of Blackburn in the last few years. He was on duty with England's Under-21 side at this summer's European Championships and will hope that Rovers can perform better than the English youngsters did at that tournament. Under contract at the club for three more years, Lowe is an integral part of the Blackburn lineup and should grow into more of a talisman in the middle because of the departure of veteran Danny Murphy.

Jordan Rhodes celebrates after scoring the opener for his team on December 2, 2012© PA Photos
Jordan Rhodes - The spearhead of their attack, Rhodes is Blackburn's star player and far-and-away their most valuable asset. A goal machine, he finished second to Crystal Palace's Glenn Murray by just a single strike in last year's goalscoring charts by netting on 29 occasions. He is tied to the club for another four years, so any potential suitors will have to part with a figure perhaps near the £10m mark to nab him. As long as Blackburn fend off interest for the 23-year-old and he stays fit, Rhodes should fire the Lancashire club into the top half of the table.

First game: Derby (A), Complete fixture list

Sports Mole says: It's been a tumultuous couple of years for Blackburn with the frowned-upon ownership of Venky's and laughable managerial situation. Steve Kean's troubled time at Ewood Park finally came to an end last season and his successors Henning Berg and Michael Appleton lasted just 57 and 67 days respectively. Bowyer's position seems to be less volatile but a slow start to the season could see his demise as well. Signings like that of Campbell, Kilgallon and Judge improve the depth of the 42-year-old's squad, which has not been stolen of much apart from one of the Olsson twins. The 17th-placed finish last time out after relegation from the top flight certainly was not good enough, but things should improve this term. There is still plenty of quality in the Rovers ranks and a top-half finish and push for the playoffs could be on the cards for the 1995 Premier League champions.

Predicted finish: 9th

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Shebby Singh on November 1, 2012
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