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Blackburn v Burnley is a must-win derby clash for differing reasons

23 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Blackburn v Burnley is a must-win derby clash for differing reasons

Rovers are worryingly close to a relegation scrap, while the Clarets need to gain automatic promotion or their season’s a failure

Blackburn Rovers v. Burnley. The East Lancashire Derby. The Cotton Mills Derby. El Lanclasico.

Call it what you want, but there can be little doubting that Saturday’s clash will be a huge occasion for each of these clubs – even if it is for differing reasons.

It has been a case of mixed fortunes for both Blackburn and Burnley so far this season.

Rovers look increasingly like they’re going to be sucked deeper into a relegation scrap, while the Clarets are well in the promotion mix, having had to readjust to life in the second tier.

And that must be difficult for both sets of fans to accept.

Rovers’ myriad struggles since being bought by the Venky’s Group in 2010 have been a living, breathing case study in how not to run a football club.

It has been a nightmare that their fans have had to endure and one that doesn’t look like ending soon.

Venky’s continued assertion to be aspirational owners who are targeting a return to the big time is misleading at best – certainly if their most recent transfer policy is anything to go by.

A summer of snapping up free transfers, while the likes of Rudy Gestede and Tom Cairney departed the club – along with 16 other players on their books – is hardly inspirational stuff.

When Blackburn were farcically relegated from the top flight at the end of the 2011/12 season, Venky’s assured fans that they would continue to fund the club well, despite dropping down a tier.

But would that continue if Rovers were to suffer another relegation?

Across the county, Burnley’s relegation at the end of last season was agonising.

The Clarets played some wonderful football in the top flight, but ultimately the demands of the Premier League – paired with a comparatively shallow squad for boss Sean Dyche – meant their time among the elite was short-lived.

However, the club’s ability to hold onto a majority of their star names – save for Danny Ings and Kieran Trippier, who always looked to be heading for the exit – plus the excellent additions of players like Matthew Lowton, Andre Gray and Joey Barton is a sign of a well-run organisation.

Much like Hull City, though, with such a strong group of players, an automatic return to the Premier League can be the only acceptable outcome for Burnley.

Anything less and it is a failure, which is a view many fans will likely share.

That means this weekend’s clash at Ewood Park almost becomes a must-win for both sides.

The last time this pair met was back in 2014, with Burnley running out 2-1 winners.

It has tended to be a very tight affair whenever they play, though, with the last five clashes seeing three 1-1 draws and a victory apiece.

A 1-1 draw this time around is priced at an intriguing 6/1, with a Blackburn victory 7/5 and Burnley to win at 2/1.

Despite all of the apparent problems at Blackburn, Jordan Rhodes remains one of the few bright sparks of the season.

His seven league goals means the Scottish international has bagged more than 58 per cent of Rovers’ total haul so far and it is little surprise that he is favourite at 9/2 to score the first goal on Saturday and 6/5 to find the net at any time.

Rhodes’ propensity for goals aside, there can be little questioning that it is Burnley who have the better all-round strikeforce.

Andre Gray’s four goals in six appearances is a good start to life for the club-record signing, while Sam Vokes’ three strikes so far is evidence that he hasn’t lost his scoring touch despite spending the entirety of last season out injured.

Gray is 6/4 to score any time, with Vokes at 2/1 to do the same – both very tempting prices.

Irrespective of the scorers, this is shaping up to be an important clash.

Win and it will be a hugely encouraging sign.

Lose or draw and it could prove costly, at least for one side in particular.

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