Blackburn v Aston Villa

By BBC Sport
Last updated : 19 November 2010

Former Arsenal winger Robert Pires could make his debut for an Aston Villa side depleted by injuries.

Gabby Agbonlahor and Richard Dunne are expected to be fit, while Ciaran Clark and Stephen Ireland hope to return from respective injury and illness.

Blackburn

Doubtful: Andrews & Grella (both groin), Nzonzi & Olsson (both hamstring)

Injured: Benjani (hamstring)

Aston Villa

Doubtful: Agbonlahor (groin), Clark (calf), Dunne (knee), Ireland (flu)

Injured: Beye & Weimann (both ankle), Carew & Cuellar (both calf), Delph, Heskey, Petrov & Reo-Coker (all knee), Sidwell (Achilles)

MATCH PREVIEW

These two founder members of the Football League have been playing each other for 122 years, but none more so than in 2010: this is their sixth meeting since January.

Who is better for England than an English manager who understands the English mentality? He [Sam Allardyce] did a great job with Bolton. He is doing a great job with Blackburn

Blackburn full-back Michel Salgado

Blackburn won the only previous league encounter of the year, on the final day of last season, while Villa have triumphed in all four cup meetings. The most recent of those, in September, marked a winning return to English football for manager Gerard Houllier.

The Frenchman has only lost two of his 10 matches in charge, and there were plenty of heroes among the Villans last weekend as a youthful side came close to defeating Manchester United. Villa were missing 11 players, and insult was added to injury when United scored two late goals to salvage a draw.

Blackburn's recent upturn in form was ended by defeat at Tottenham, with beaten manager Sam Allardyce describing his side's defending as "diabolical". One of the guilty party, Michel Salgado, has nonetheless praised the job done by Allardyce and backed him to succeed Fabio Capello as England boss.

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

• Aston Villa have won four of their last five trips to Ewood Park in all competitions.

• There have been six goals scored in the last six minutes of the last six Premier League matches between Blackburn and Villa.

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Blackburn

• They have lost three of their last five league matches, winning only two of their last seven.

• Blackburn have played 24 matches since they last won by more than a single goal.

• Rovers would be third in the table if games ended at half time, but they have the worst second-half record in the top flight.

• They have lost all four matches in which they conceded the first goal.

Aston Villa

• Villa have only won one of their last seven matches (W1, D4, L2).

• They have dropped more points (12) from winning positions than any other club in the division.

• Gerard Houllier's side have conceded five league goals in the last five minutes of matches this season.

• Brad Friedel made 357 appearances for Blackburn between 2000 and 2008.

• Stephen Warnock, who played 109 matches for Blackburn, has picked up seven yellow cards in his last nine league appearances.

LEADING GOALSCORERS

Blackburn

Mame Diouf: 4 goals (1 league)

Aston Villa

Downing: 5 goals (4 league); A Young: 4 goals (2 league); Heskey: 4 goals (1 league)

MATCH OFFICIALS

Referee: Michael Oliver

Assistant referees: Andy Halliday & Mick McDonough

Fourth official: Chris Foy

LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS

Blackburn (L2-4 v Tottenham, a): Robinson; Salgado (El-Hadji Diouf 37), Samba, Nelsen, Givet, Chimbonda, Emerton, Jones, Pedersen (Dunn 63), Hoilett, Kalinic (Roberts 45). Subs not used: Bunn, Goulon, Hanley, Mame Diouf.

Aston Villa (D2-2 v Manchester United, h): Friedel; L Young, Dunne, Collins, Warnock, Albrighton (Lichaj 88), Hogg (Herd 90), Bannan, Downing, A Young, Agbonlahor (Delfouneso 78). Subs not used: Guzan, Osbourne, Lowry, Johnson.

Source: BBC Sport

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