Blackburn Rovers show fighting spirit against Nottingham Forest to encourage Steve Kean successor
Nottingham Forest 0 Blackburn Rovers 0
Whoever takes Blackburn's fancy as the successor to Steve Kean will inherit a team with an instant return to the Premier League a viable goal, although they needed to do a lot of defending to preserve their unbeaten away record here last night.
Caretaker manager Eric Black confirmed that he expects to be considered as a candidate, although he is not yet looking beyond Blackburn's next game, at home against Wolves on Saturday.
"I have not applied for the job yet and I will reflect on it over the next few days," Black said. "The club has explained to me where they are and I think I will be in charge on Saturday."
In the end, last night's was a hard-earned point. After a slow start, Nottingham Forest's football was much the more creative, even if Paul Robinson, the former England goalkeeper, had to make only one save of note, keeping out a powerful second-half effort by Henri Lansbury. It was Blackburn's first goalless draw since April 2011 in a run of 60 league matches, although the statistic the new manager will need to correct is that they have won away from home only twice in 14 months.
Forest's poor disciplinary record is beginning to bite, depriving them of three players – Adlene Guedioura, Dexter Blackstock and Simon Cox – through suspension. Given that he has yet to settle on his best side after acquiring 12 new players in the summer, it was a complication the Forest manager, Sean O'Driscoll, could have done without. Certainly, they looked to have some way to go to settle as a coherent unit.
Muscular and direct, Rovers dominated the home side in the first half without giving goalkeeper Lee Camp a difficult moment. Forest looked more threatening and could have taken the lead just before half-time but Scott Dann got his head to a well-struck Lansbury volley.
O'Driscoll clearly had it in mind to give Lansbury no more than an hour or so on the field. Yet moments before he was substituted he drew a fine save from Robinson with another powerful shot, this time after running on to a neat pass from Andy Reid.
It was from the Irishman's cross that Forest went close again as Billy Sharp's effort flashed just the wrong side of the post.
Blackburn sent on Colin Kazim-Richards on in place of Nuno Gomes in the hope of testing a defence that had kept Jordan Rhodes quiet but Forest, with their former teenage prodigy Jermaine Jenas making the first appearance, off the bench, of his month's loan from Tottenham, looked more likely to conjure up a winning goal.
Nottingham Forest (4-1-4-1): Camp; Halford, Ayala, Collins, Harding; Gillett; Cohen, Lansbury (Majewski, 64), McGugan (Jenas, 72), Reid (Coppinger, 86); Sharp. Substitutes not used Moussi, Greening, Moloney, Evtimov (gk).
Blackburn Rovers (3-5-2): Robinson; Hanley, Dann, Givet; Orr, Lowe, Murphy, Formica, M Olsson; Gomes (Kazim-Richards, 64), Rhodes (Dunn, 86). Substitutes not used Nunes, Pedersen, Rochina, Ribeiro, Kean (gk).
Referee M Russell (Hertfordshire).
Boro denied by late leveller
Middlesbrough were held to a 2-2 draw at the Riverside by Derby last night, meaning Tony Mowbray's side have picked up just one point from two successive home games.
Lukas Jutkiewicz looked to have put victory in reach for Boro when his second goal, a powerful header, put them 2-1 ahead with nine minutes to go. But Paul Coutts equalised in the 87th minute to give Nigel Clough's visitors a deserved point.
In the first half a Theo Robinson penalty gave Derby the lead before Jutkiewicz tapped home soon after.
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