Sako’s absence is a major blow for Jackett’s men
Wolves have taken maximum points from their last two visits to Ewood Park and have only lost one of their last five matches, in all competitions, against Blackburn Rovers. So hopes will be high of a positive result this Sunday in Lancashire following a hard-fought draw at Fulham in the FA Cup last weekend.
Kevin McDonald is likely to return to the starting line-up at Blackburn following suspension but Bakary Sako is now on Africa Cup Of Nations duty with Mali and will be unavailable for the rest of January at least, though Nouha Dicko hasn’t been called up which is an unexpected bonus.
Rajiv van la Parra is Sako’s likely replacement on the wing unless Kenny Jackett decides to tweak his formation, though the signing of Jordan Graham from Aston Villa gives the manager more options.
Lee Evans and Jack Price did well at Craven Cottage and the manager will want to give the pairing another chance in the centre of midfield soon and Kortney Hause could replace Matt Doherty at full-back.
But the manager won’t want to make wholesale changes to his back four with his side on a good run which has seen them win three and draw two of their last five and only concede two goals.
Blackburn’s form is typical of a side occupying the middle ground in the Championship but victory over Wolves would lift them above their opponents in the table and keep them in touch with the play-off places.
Their front two, Jordan Rhodes and Rudy Gestedes, both have decent scoring records and are again the subject of transfer speculation. But Rovers have only won one of their last six in the league and have probably drawn too many for Gary Bowyer’s liking.
He played a number of fringe players against Charlton in the FA Cup last week, however, so expect the big guns to be brought into action for this one.
Wolves will miss Sako and Rovers are capable on their day so this could be a tricky fixture. A home win is only 21/20, however, and there is more value in backing a Blackburn win by one goal at 11/4.
The match kicks off at 2.00pm on Sunday, January 11th at Ewood Park.