Beleaguered Blackburn boss knows defeat at QPR could spell the end
Preview: QPR v Blackburn Rovers
The axe could hardly be hovering any closer to Steve Kean’s head as he brings his Blackburn side to Loftus Road on Saturday desperate for a win.
At odds of 5/4, Kean (pictured) is the favourite to be the first top-flight manager of the season to lose his job. His side have managed just four points from their first seven games, losing at home to Wolves, Everton and Manchester City, and picking up a solitary away point at Fulham.
Their sole victory, a brave 4-3 win over Arsenal, briefly appeased the Rovers faithful, but a 4-0 hammering by City in their last game quickly had the vultures circling again.
Blackburn midfielder David Dunn called for fans to be ‘realistic’ after the City result, but the grim reality for Kean is that his side sit second from bottom of the league, above only Bolton.
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It has certainly been an inauspicious start to his Blackburn career for centre-back Scott Dann, who signed from relegated Birmingham City on the final day of the summer transfer window.
A defence with Dann and Christopher Samba at its heart should, in theory, be a solid bedrock for Blackburn, yet their back-line is yet to keep a clean sheet so far.
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Kean’s side are likely to line up in a 4-3-3 formation, which can adapt to 4-5-1 when they are without the ball. In front of goalkeeper Paul Robinson, Dann and Samba will be flanked by either former Real Madrid star Michel Salgado or England Under-20 captain Jason Lowe on the right, and former France international Gael Givet at left-back.
Serbian international Radosav Petrovic is a relatively unknown quantity on the right of midfield; an imposing figure at 6ft 4ins, Petrovic looks more suited to centre-back than midfield, but has 19 caps and has already made five appearances since he signed from Partizan Belgrade in July.
Steven Nzonzi should occupy the central midfield berth, while Dunn adds a more physical option as he returns from the calf injury he sustained against Fulham in September. On the left of midfield Morten Gamst Pedersen is a threat, and decent from set pieces, although the Norwegian international rarely lives up to the standards he set earlier in his Blackburn career.
Junior Hoilett is capable of playing either up front or in left midfield, and he is potentially Rovers’ most potent attacking weapon, having scored six goals last season – including the winner against QPR when the two sides met in the FA Cup third round in January.
Another summer signing, David Goodwillie, is yet to net in the Premier League since his move from Dundee United, although he did score against Sheffield Wednesday in the Carling Cup.
Former Everton, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth striker Yakubu leads the line for Kean’s side and is the club’s top scorer, with both his goals coming in the win over Arsenal in September.
While both managers will feel he needs maximum points from this clash, only one faces potentially dire consequences if he fails. Rovers are unlikely to offer the same counter-attacking threat that both Aston Villa and Newcastle provided, and it could be the result that costs Kean his job – 2-1 to Rangers.
Follow Ian Cooper on Twitter @QPRTimes
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