City urged to beware of Rovers' revenge

Kieran Daley
Wednesday 28 November 2001 01:00

Tony Parkes, the Blackburn assistant manager, is billing tonight's Worthington Cup fourth-round match with Manchester City as a "grudge match".

Parkes is still smarting over City's 4-1 victory over Blackburn on their last visit to Ewood Park in May 2000, which clinched their promotion to the Premiership. He feels they were cheated that day and he did not enjoy seeing thousands of City fans celebrating promotion at Ewood.

"Manchester City had a lot of success at Blackburn one particular day as we remember so it's a little bit of a grudge match for us," he said. "We need to turn them over and get a share of the triumph that they had a couple of seasons ago.

"We thought it was a travesty that we got beat 4-1. We hit the post and the bar about three or four times and it could quite easily have been a win for Blackburn on the day, but we didn't get the luck and City went on to win the game and get promotion.

"It's not nice to see 8,000 visiting fans dominating your stadium. We didn't like that and we feel that we need to get a bit of success ourselves."

The City manager, Kevin Keegan, also recalls that afternoon, although he has different memories. Joe Royle was in charge of City then and Keegan said: "I remember it very well. First of all I wouldn't like to sit through as Manchester City manager the number of times they hit the post and the bar. But I wouldn't mind the celebrations at the end and I remember a lot of fans on the hill who couldn't get in.

"At the end the celebrations were great because they had really achieved something and whatever we achieve tomorrow cannot live up to that. Having said that, we want to go back to Blackburn and have another memorable day and if we do that we will be through to the last eight of the cup."

Blackburn are unbeaten at home this season, but Keegan was upbeat about City's chances: "That does not mean to say they can't be beaten at home – it just means at this moment in time no-one has beaten them. They have drawn with Manchester United and Liverpool and on paper they've beaten better sides than us."

Keegan has striking problems and Paulo Wanchope, Shaun Goater and Paul Dickov are still injured. Steve Howey is out with a foot injury, while Danny Tiatto could recover from a groin strain to play and Paul Ritchie is definitely back following groin trouble.

Rovers have named an unchanged squad with Garry Flitcroft, Lucas Neill and Corrado Grabbi are still absent. Henning Berg has a minor ankle injury and is expected to start on the bench.

Rufus Brevett has picked out his former team-mate Les Ferdinand as a major threat to Fulham's hopes of further progress in the Worthington Cup.

The pair, who spent more than four years together at Queens Park Rangers, renew acquaintances in tomorrow's fourth-round clash at Craven Cottage and Brevett will not be underestimating Ferdinand.

"Les is one of the best players I've ever played with," said Brevett. "I've only seen him on the box recently but he looks sharp, he's still good in the air and he's going to be a danger."

Ferdinand's return to form follows a long spell when he was troubled by injuries, allied to the arrival of Teddy Sheringham from Manchester United.

Brevett added: "To look at him now, you would never think he'd had problems. He's a very determined character and I can't speak highly enough of him. I also think he has benefited from having Teddy alongside him. He drops off and Les is big and strong and takes a lot of the stick so they are good for each other."

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