Bet365 Bookmaker (£200 Free Bets) Latest Betting Odds: Blackburn 6/4, draw 12/5, Newcastle 7/4
Blackburn Rovers may well have given themselves hope of survival with four points in their last two games, but they still have plenty of hard work to do if they are to avoid the drop.
Their next match is a tough one too as they face Newcastle United at Ewood Park. Even though Steve Kean’s men followed up a crucial home win over Fulham with a draw at Everton last time out, they will still be underdogs going into this one.
In fairness to Rovers though, hope wasn’t something they had much of a couple of weeks ago.
After the home defeat to Bolton Wanderers in December – during which Kean was the subject of abusive taunts – they were rock bottom and seemingly had no way out.
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However, since then they have picked up valuable points against Liverpool, Manchester United as well as the already mentioned Fulham and Everton.
They are still in the relegation zone, but with 16 games remaining they are in touch with the teams above them and have realistic ambitions of being a Premier League side next season.
Kean will be boosted by news that Marcus Olsson has arrived from Halmstads BK, while experienced midfielder David Dunn has signed a new contract at the club.
As for Newcastle, they had hoped to have leading scorer Demba Ba and new signing Papiss Cisse available for the trip to Ewood Park, but they will not arrive back from international duty on time.
Regardless, Alan Pardew will want three points from this game and a positive response to the shock FA Cup defeat at the hands of Championship Brighton on Saturday.
The Magpies also lost their last Premier League game – a 5-2 hammering at Fulham – so there is no doubt that victory in this one would be a welcome return to form for Newcastle in their bid for a top six finish this season.
Looking at the most significant team news ahead of this one, Blackburn will be without the suspended Yakubu, while it remains uncertain whether want away defender Chris Samba will be involved.
For Newcastle, they may well be without Ba and Cisse, but Fabricio Coloccini is set to come back in to bolster their defence.