EPL Preview: Hull City v. Blackburn Rovers

Brian RhodesSenior Analyst IFebruary 28, 2009

Hull City v. Blackburn Rovers

Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull England, 12:30 GMT, Sunday, Mar 1, 2009.


In the first meeting of the two clubs in the English top flight, the Tigers managed to gain a credible 1-1 draw against Blackburn.

Richard Garcia's looping header drew the Tigers level at the 40 minute mark, two minutes after Jason Roberts had hit a hammer strike to beat Boaz Myhill in the Hull City goal.

Things have changed for both teams since the second game of the 2008-09 Premiership season. Hull City went on a fantastic run, beating Arsenal and Spurs, drawing with Liverpool, and almost turning over Manchester United.

However, since reaching 27 points, the pickings have been slim for the East Yorkshire outfit. With only two points since the victory against Middlesbrough in early December, it has seen the Tigers slide down the table to 13th place.

For the Blue and Whites, the 2008-09 season hasn't been a bed of roses either.

Paul Ince, in his first Premiership managerial role, was not given a chance to cement his time in the top flight because of a set of poor performances, not least, the draw against the Tigers. (In hindsight, that point looked pretty good at the time he was given his marching orders.)

With the Blackburn hot seat vacant, the Rover's board turned to experienced Premiership campaigner Sam Allardyce. Brown and Allardyce have a long history together, with Allardyce giving Brown his first taste of coaching whilst at Blackpool before the pair moved to Bolton Wanderers.

The two took the Wanderers to the brink of European football, before their partnership split with Phil Brown stepping up in a managerial position of his own.

Brown had a torrid spell at Derby County, and then Allardyce, seeing that he could not take Bolton much further, tried his hand at the current disaster that is Newcastle United, before he too was shown the door.

During Allardyce's absence from the game, he was a regular confidant of Brown and was even in the dressing room with the Tigers when they won the Championship play-off final at Wembley Stadium.

However, this will be the first meeting between the two old friends that sees them going head to head.

Who will win out?

Hull City will be without the services of Caleb Folan, who was injured in the mid-week FA Cup victory over Sheffield United. The Tigers' skipper Ian Ashbee is also a doubt after missing the game, but will have a late fitness test.

Phil Brown will also be buoyed by the return of Craig Fagan who missed the last two games after minor knee surgery.

Blackburn's Vince Grella and David Dunn may miss out with groin strains, but they will be given late fitness tests. 

Allardyce will be hoping that Blackburn's poor run of form, which has seen them only pick up two wins in that last eight games, will be halted with a victory against his old friend.

Likewise, Brown will be hoping that beating his mentor will help to put the Tigers back on track.