Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday November 5 2010
Wigan Athletic travel 15 miles up the M65 this weekend to face Lancashire neighbours Blackburn Rovers in what promises to be an entertaining affair, so in the build up to the game I did a little entertaining of my own and had a chat with Vital Blackburn editor and massive Rovers fan Mikey Delap, lets see how it all went:
worbo - Hi Mikey, still early season but are you surprised to find Blackburn down at the wrong end of the table?
Mikey - In a way yes but if you watch some of our performances then it is not that big of a shock. We have been amazing in getting a foothold in games and putting ourselves in a position to win games, but we have been even better at being sloppy and throwing it all away. I think we have lost something like 10 points from winning positions which is just ridiculous.
Our biggest weakness is last season's weakness, we create plenty of chances but we can't seem to tuck the majority of them away.
worbo - Big Sam, is he the man or you not a fan of his particular brand of football?
Mikey - There are plenty of Rovers fans currently unhappy with Big Sam's style of football but I don't mind it too much... as long as it works! Given the resources currently at his disposal and the funds he has available to spend I think even the most hard nosed of fans would accept there aren't many managers on planet earth who could have done a much better job in the last 24 months.
In the summer we spent precisely £0 and I feel many managers would feel restricted and proverbially handcuffed as a result of that. People may not like it but Rovers play to their strengths - we can be a handful from set pieces, we are set up not to lose and we put a lot of pressure on the opposition.
Just don't expect it to be pretty.
worbo - Big take over coming off, must be exciting times to be a Rovers fan with the promise of investment and has much chicken and eggs as you can eat, do you think that the new owners will in fact bring the good times back, plus if they are set to invest heavily will they want a new man in charge of team affairs?
Mikey - It is absolutely exciting but given the recent developments with regards to foreign owners taking over football clubs let's call it cautious optimism. Nobody at Rovers wants the Pompey or the Liverpool situations to engulf our club and we are lucky the current owners (the Walker trust) have gone to great lengths to vet the potential new boys and have turned down several parties who were interested in control of the club on the basis of them looking a bit dodgy.
Word on the block is that Venkys plan to invest steadily and with growth in mind, certainly not to say Manchester City levels but more to the tune of a club like Aston Villa. It probably won't be spectacular and it more or less definitely won't bring the league back to Ewood but it should see a good level of investment that we didn't have before.
worbo - Who`s been doing the business for Blackburn so far this season?
Mikey - It has been a tough season so far but three players immediately spring to mind.
El Hadji Diouf has been a revelation so far and a far cry from the unproductive mess that he was last season, he is never going to win back fan respect as there is too much water under the bridge for that... but when he is as focused as he has been this season then he is an asset to any team.
Next up is the big man Chris Samba who is the new captain at Blackburn. Apart from his recent sending off against Sunderland he has been an absolute rock at the heart of the Rovers defence and if others had been as dependable and taken as much responsibility as the man from the Congo has, we would be up the correct end of the table.
Finally there is Phil Jones. The boy is 18 but plays like a mature 25 year old. If he isn't a future England international then I don't know what one is.
worbo - I really like the looks of Steven N`Zonzi, he is a cracking midfield player and if I had to pick one Rovers player to put in the Latics team it would definitely be N`Zonzi, especially now that James McCarthy is out for a few months, if you could take one of our players Mikey who would it be?
Mikey - Charles N'Zogbia. He can be a massive, screaming baby when he doesn't get his own way but he is treat of a player. Whenever I watch Wigan (and this is meant as respectfully as possible) he is a cut above anyone else and probably worthy of playing for a top 6 side given his playing abilities.
He is exactly the sort of player who is missing from our line up at present. Someone who can add that little bit of flair to proceedings.
I must admit I do like the look of Tom Cleverley who is on loan with you at present as well.
worbo - Who`s your pick for the top four and bottom three this season?
Mikey - This is one of the most unpredictable seasons ever.
Any one of about 6 sides could stake a claim to the league and any of the others could go down!
But my gut instinct as things stand is this...
Blackpool (When the injuries kick in)
worbo - Prediction time Mikey, I`m going for a draw, I can see us scoring and conceding so I`ll go for 1-1, how do you see it?
Mikey - We need a win. Simples. If we can play to anywhere near the level of the last game then we can get a result.
I shall go for a 2-1 Rovers win - Mame Biram Diouf and Benjani with the goals for Rovers and Di Santo for Wigan (one of those fate things).
Thanks for the chat Mikey, no doubt I`ll catch you tomorrow, yes I am coming along with my £10 ticket, good luck for the rest of the season, I do like my trips to Ewood eeven though I have never seen us win there.
To see my interview over on VB simply go to www.blackburn.vitalfootball.co.uk/mikey_meets_worbo
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Date:Friday November 5 2010
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