Ince faces make or break in favourable run

Paul Ince, the Blackburn Rovers manager, knows only a return to winning ways can ease the pressure which is growing over his short tenure at Ewood Park.

Ince's position was almost certainly one of the main topics of discussion at yesterday's monthly board meeting. However, having opted for the former manager of League One MK Dons instead of more experienced candidates in the summer, the Blackburn chairman, John Williams, is reluctant to make a change with Ince less than five months into the job.

Even though Rovers have slipped from seventh in September to their current position of 19th after a run of 10 Premier League matches without victory, the manager will be given more time to turn things around.

Fortunately for Ince, the fixture list is in his favour. After Saturday's trip to Wigan, Rovers face Stoke, Sunderland, Manchester City, Fulham, Newcastle, Bolton and Middlesbrough before the end of next month.

It is a run which is likely to make or break Blackburn's season but Ince cannot afford not to make the most of matches against teams currently outside the Premier League's top eight.

Williams has set the team a target of nine league wins in total this season – they currently have three – but he that stressed the players had to start turning things around pretty quickly.

"We have 22 games left and the sooner we start picking up the wins the better the situation will look," the chairman said. "The longer we go without a win the more difficult it becomes for us to get those wins we need.

"The players and the manager believe our fortunes will change once we get that first win," Williams added, "but we all know we need that win quickly."

Despite reports of dressing-room unrest, the players appear to be fully behind Ince and Nigel Winterburn, brought in by the manager as a defensive coach, has backed him to succeed.

"If you give Paul time, then you can make a judgement on him, but you can't judge somebody after 15 games," Winterburn said. "It almost seems now we are very judgemental within a few games, it's absolutely crazy."

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