Steve Kean wants to reward Blackburn fans with 'fantastic display'


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The Independent Football

Blackburn manager Steve Kean has challenged his team to turn on the style against rotten travellers Middlesbrough tonight.

While Middlesbrough were having a grim Tuesday night at Blackpool, losing 4-1 for a third defeat in three league trips this season, Blackburn stayed top of the npower Championship thanks to a 2-1 home win over Barnsley.

Strikers Jordan Rhodes and Nuno Gomes netted the goals, but Rovers were below their best and drew a crowd of just 12,772, their lowest gate so far this season.

The attendance suggested that manager Kean, who called his team's first-half display "dreadful", still has work to do to persuade the people of the town to get behind his team.

But should Blackburn secure three points this evening they would be safe at the summit for another weekend, and even the Scot's noisiest critics might be silenced.

He said: "We want to show that we are a top side, we've shown signs but I'd love us to put it all together and have a fantastic display because the fans have been brilliant all season.

"I'd like to show them a 90-minute performance so let's give it a go on Friday night."

Last Saturday saw Rovers beat Bristol City 5-3, so the narrow win over Barnsley was an inevitable anti-climax.

Kean, though, is keen to reward those who are staying faithful after the crushing disappointment of relegation from the Premier League.

"I hope we can produce a better performance for the fans as I was disappointed with our play against Barnsley," Kean told Radio Rovers.

"I was hoping we would see some of the stuff we showed at Bristol City, minus the goals against, but we just didn't get into gear.

"So I'm looking forward to us having a good 90 minutes on Friday night and I'm sure the fans are as well."

Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray has seen his side win all three of their home matches this term, so the away record is puzzling, and clearly a problem to which the former West Brom and Celtic manager urgently needs to find a solution.

His prescription of "damn hard work" should go some way to getting the job done, but there are likely to be few tougher trips than Ewood Park.

After losses at Barnsley and Millwall, Middlesbrough were picked apart at Blackpool, and speaking after the game, Mowbray said: "There's no excuse culture, damn hard work is required and together we must move on.

"We've got another opportunity on Friday with another very tough away fixture against the team above Blackpool in the league and we'll go there and see if we can get it right."

Mowbray is set to make changes, with teenagers Luke Williams and Adam Reach back in the frame after both sat out the clash with the Seasiders.