Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday January 27 2010
Wigan Athletic travel to Ewood Park tonight to meet Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League, in the build up to the game Vital Latics (worbo) met up with Vital Blackburn (Mikey Delap) for a bit of a chat about the game:
worbo - Hi Mikey, not long since our last encounter, Boxing Day to be precise, a 1-1 draw and on reflection probably the right result with both sides having chances, since then we have hit a bit of form and we're unbeaten in our last three games, how's the Rovers form been lately?
Mikey Delap - If you had asked me prior to the last two games my answer would have been 'good grief' we are not doing very well. But thankfully a steady home win at Ewood against Fulham and a titanic effort against Villa in the Carling Cup (when we were genuinely excellent) has arrested the slide somewhat. Prior to that we had been low on confidence and short of results... we hadn't won in 11 games to be precise.
I dont think we are where we would have liked to have been in the league and the recent form and displays have not been what fans have expected so as a result a few fans have started to turn on Sam Allardyce - but thankfully he has held it together. I would say 6/10 so far this season.
worbo - Well we are smack in the middle of the latest transfer window and I notice that you have let Benni McCarthy go to West Ham, whats your thoughts on that? Also have you brought anyone in we should be keeping an eye on or has it been quiet on the arrival front?
Mikey Delap - Oh god this is a touchy subject at the moment on VB, the Benni issue has split the good people of Vital Blackburn more or less 50/50. Some say Benni is too good to let go and has been driven out of the club. Others say he is a petulant, self centred, yet talented player who is lazy and that we are fairly well rid of him.
I sit on the latter side of the fence. I think McCarthy's attitude at times has been poor - he hasn't hit the fitness targets provided to him so he has only himself to blame for his fall from grace in East Lancashire. We are losing a talented player but he has burnt his bridges here.
However, for his services to Blackburn I wish him well at West Ham... as long as he doesn't score at the weekend.
It has been extremely quiet on the transfer front at Rovers, as for many of the Premier League clubs but we have signed our first new arival today, this lunchtime to be precise. The man is Yildiray Basturk, on a freebie from Stuttgart. He is a fine player but is probably short of match fitness. I expect he will do well as he has been a top player over the years, especially for the Turkish national side.
Other than that, sweet F.A has happened!
worbo - Its all getting very tight in the bottom half of the table, I can see Burnley struggling from now especially with Owen Coyle going to Bolton, both the Latics and Rovers are in the mix of course but I think we will be alright, for me Portsmouth, Hull and Burnley will end up going down this season, would you agree, who do you getting relegated?
Mikey Delap - I dont think you are too far wrong there mate to be honest. I know Rovers and Wigan haven't showered themselves in glory so far but I don't think either are SERIOUS contenders for the drop unless something goes drastically wrong. Both have good playing personnel and managers who can think their way out of trouble. It probably won't be spectacular for us but we will be fine I am sure.
As for the drop, I would say any of the teams from Bolton, Burnley, Wolves, Hull can go down. Sadly and with some regret, Pompey are well and truly screwed.
worbo - We are in negotiations with Villarreal to sign a young Argentine forward and let me tell you we desperately need to strengthen our front line with just Hugo Rodallega and Jason Scotland as recognised forwards at the club, what areas do you feel Blackburn should be strengthening?
Mikey Delap - Well some say the striking department could do with some goals in it but I think minus a Benni McCarthy replacement, we should be fine up top. Players such as Kalinic, Di Santo and Dunn have threatened goals this season but I put that more down to bad luck and bad timing than a severe lack of talent that there hasnt been as many goals as should have been bagged.
I will actually say the midfield is the part that could do with the overhaul (this won't happen by the way). We have plenty of numbers in the middle of the park and out on the wing but we are lacking a little in the cutting edge department since Tugay retired.
Keith Andrews is borderline embarrassing, Diouf is losing his discipline, Morten has one good game and three bad ones.... I could go on. Only David Dunn and Steven Reid are capable of a flash of magic but whilst Brett Emerton finds his feet after injury, they are the only two we have (and both of those are hardly bullet proof to be fair!)
worbo - I notice that Rovers have made tonights game a special for home fans and tickets can be bought for £15, but for away supporters the price is £29, I know quite a few Latics fans who have decided not to go to Ewood tonight because they feel that they would be 'ripped off' and I tend to agree, what are your thoughts on this, personally I feel both home and away supporters should be charged the same.
Mikey Delap - I agree that you have a point but it is fairly well known that most EPL clubs charge more to the away fans. I am not saying it is right but if it is the 'rule of thumb' then Rovers will follow it, at the end of the day the football club needs to make a profit and this is one of the ways of doing it.
The fans do lose out and that is a shame but a football club is a business.
Wigan fans can do what they like, it is their right if they feel it is too much to pay. But I don't think we should be singled out for it, we are hardly one of the worst culprits!!!
Just so you know and this can be balanced - DW tickets on Boxing Day were bought for between £25-£30, so we paid roughly the same.
But maybe clubs should agree in principle that everyone should pay the same - like Bolton and Rovers did last season, the only problem with that is that i wont hold my breath!
worbo - Well down to the prediction, we have Chris Kirkland and Mario Melchiot definitely out, our new reserve keeper Serbia international Vladimir Stojkovic is set to make his debut and Emerson Boyce will be switched to right back, but I have a sneaky feeling that we will pinch the points and snatch a late winner in a 1-2 score line, whats your prediction?
Mikey Delap - We are strong at home, we are bobbins away. It is how it was meant to be it seems.
But we are at home and we have been strong at Ewood for a while now.
We need to string a few results together and this is a big game for us, Dave Dunn is fit and we are nearly at full strength apart from Vince 'I should get a job as an extra on E.R' Grella so I will back us all the way. 2-0 to Rovers with Kalinic and Pedersen scoring.
worbo - Thanks for the chat Mikey and good luck for the rest of the season, after tonight of course.
Catch my interview over on Vital Blackburn
You can listen to the Latics Speyk podcasts now by clicking on the player here:
Date:Wednesday January 27 2010
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