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Preview: Blackburn Rovers vs. Stoke City - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Championship clash between Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams in touching distance of the playoffs in the Championship will lock horns on Saturday afternoon as Blackburn Rovers welcome Stoke City to Ewood Park.

Blackburn are currently 11th in the table, having picked up 32 points from their 23 matches this season, while Stoke occupy eighth, just two points behind sixth-placed Watford.


Match preview

Blackburn Rovers manager Tony Mowbray pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Blackburn have won nine, drawn five and lost nine of their 23 Championship matches this season to sit 11th, five points behind sixth-placed Watford ahead of this weekend's contest at Ewood Park.

Tony Mowbray's side recorded a 2-0 win over Birmingham City in their last Championship match on January 2 but exited the FA Cup in the third round last weekend as they suffered a 1-0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers.

Blackburn have been out of the Premier League since 2012 and actually spent the 2017-18 campaign down in League One before returning at the first time of asking, and they have finished 15th and 11th in their last two seasons in the second tier of English football.

Rovers face a tough task to secure promotion to the top flight but have the league's joint-highest goalscorer in their ranks, with Adam Armstrong netting 16 times during an impressive campaign.

Stoke's recent record against Blackburn is impressive, though, losing just one of the last four matches between the two teams, and the Potters took four points from their two Championship fixtures last term.

Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Stoke are currently on a five-game winless run in all competitions, including a 4-0 home defeat to Premier League side Leicester City in the third round of the FA Cup last weekend.

Michael O'Neill's team also lost 1-0 at home to Bournemouth in the league on January 2, but a relatively strong campaign to date has left them in eighth position, just two points outside of the playoff positions.

The Potters have finished 16th and 15th in their last two seasons at this level but will believe that they belong at the top level, having enjoyed plenty of success in the Premier League.

Stoke recorded a 1-0 victory when they last faced Blackburn in December, while O'Neill's side have been impressive on their travels this season, boasting the sixth-best away record in the second tier, picking up 17 points from their 11 matches, suffering just two defeats in the process.

Blackburn Rovers Championship form: LWLDLW
Blackburn Rovers form (all competitions): WLDLWL

Stoke City Championship form: DDWDDL
Stoke City form (all competitions): WLDDLL


Team News

Harvey Elliott in action for Blackburn Rovers on November 3, 2020© Reuters

Blackburn will again be without the services of Elliott Bennett, Joe Rankin-Costello, Scott Wharton and Corry Evans through injury.

Mowbray has revealed that Ryan Nyambe and Lewis Holtby are both in contention, though, with the pair being forced to sit out the FA Cup clash with Doncaster last weekend.

Bradley Dack was again in action in the FA Cup, but the midfielder is still not ready to start, and there are not expected to be many surprises in the home side's XI, with Armstrong, Harvey Elliott and Sam Gallagher all set to feature.

As for Stoke, head coach O'Neill could hand out three league debuts this weekend, with Rabbi Matondo, Jack Clarke and Rhys Norrington-Davies all in contention to feature.

Danny Batth could return from injury this weekend, while Tommy Smith and John Obi Mikel might also feature, but Sam Clucas, Morgan Fox, Tyrese Campbell, Niki Maenpaa, Lee Gregory, Angus Gunn and Adam Davies are out.

Steven Fletcher and Jordan Thompson have also been cleared to play and should start, while Nick Powell is available, having recovered from illness and a hip problem.

Blackburn Rovers possible starting lineup:
Kaminski; Douglas, Lenihan, Johnson, Bell; Holtby, Travis, Davenport; Elliott, Gallagher, Armstrong

Stoke City possible starting lineup:
Bursik; Collins, Souttar, Chester; Norrington-Davies, Thompson, Allen, Mikel, McLean; Powell; Fletcher


SM words green background

We say: Blackburn Rovers 1-1 Stoke City

There is not an awful lot between these two teams in terms of quality, and we are struggling to separate them this weekend. Stoke will be desperate to return to winning ways in the Championship, but Blackburn must be respected, and we are backing a low-scoring draw between the two former Premier League clubs.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or draw in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Draw:data


ID:430535:cQx

How you voted: Blackburn vs Stoke

Blackburn Rovers
43.5%
Draw
28.3%
Stoke City
28.3%
46
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Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill pictured in October 2020
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Michael O'Neill looks ahead to 2021 as Stoke players return from injury
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Norwich CityNorwich24155433211250
2Swansea CitySwansea24137429131646
3Bournemouth24119438201842
4Brentford22118336211541
5Reading2312473428640
6Watford2210752617937
7Middlesbrough22106628181036
8Stoke CityStoke249962723436
9Bristol City2311392524136
10Barnsley24104102731-434
11Blackburn RoversBlackburn2496939281133
12Luton TownLuton249692126-533
13Preston North EndPreston24102123033-332
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2494112834-631
15Cardiff CityCardiff2385103027329
16Millwall2351172024-426
17Coventry CityCoventry236892231-926
18Birmingham CityBirmingham2468101829-1126
19Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2467111927-825
20Queens Park RangersQPR235992230-824
21Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2367101523-819
22Rotherham UnitedRotherham2154122029-919
23Derby CountyDerby2347121425-1119
24Wycombe WanderersWycombe2336141635-1915

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