ICYMI: We released ‘The @1875Pod meets Brad Friedel’@andywatsonsport speaks to the former #Rovers ‘keeper about promotion, League Cup, Arsenal (A), Celtic, Souness/Hughes, best team-mates, being a manager, the truth about him leaving Ewood & more!https://t.co/l7qouRmOtB— Rovers Chat (@rovers_chat) July 3, 2020
JR: How do you rate your chances against Leeds?
Andy: Every Championship club knows that playing Leeds is going to be a difficult task. As a fan it’s a game I dread to be honest. I think that fans of clubs with a big support traditionally enjoy coming to Ewood because they have a designated pub and the whole Darwen End to themselves. I’m not up for the opposition getting such an easy ride and I think it helps their team a bit more too. On the pitch it’s just as tough. I can’t see us being able to penetrate using a possession style we’ve developed, it would be more sensible to use the ability of Downing and Holtby to pick out longer passes to Armstrong and Samuel/Brereton to threaten between the CBs and FBs.
JR: Blackburn have had a couple of poor results recently, how have the performances been?
Andy: The performances have been anaemic. We have looked decent on the ball without creating clear cut chances. The only real chances we have had in the last two matches have been fluffed as well and this is the issue for Blackburn at the moment, too many forwards “needing a goal”. Our new system may be on the verge of being abandoned after those recent displays and to suit the tactical approach needed to take on Leeds.
JR: Do you still feel there is a chance of making the play-offs?
Andy: I personally gave up hope on the playoffs after the two defeats but as we probably would have this down as 0 or 1 point max if we were able to get all 3 then I guess there may still be an outside chance.
JR: Who would you consider to be the key players if Blackburn are going to get a result?
Andy: In terms of key players, Adam Armstrong has to be the man to score goals. He is the only forward we have who looks sharp enough to do the business. Obviously we will have to keep it tight defensively so Tosin Adarabioyo and Darragh Lenihan (if back from parental duties!) need to have good games. Could also do with Christian Walton rediscovering his pre-lockdown form.
JR: I have been forthcoming with my affection for Tosin Adarabioyo - How good has he been?
Andy: Tosin has been absolutely superb for us. No doubt the Rovers fans would love to keep him but I know that Manchester City want to reassess him at the end of the season. He has a composure and weight of pass of a midfielder but also excellent timing. He also has one of the highest aerial Duel win percentages in the league, but it’s Lenihan who tends to fight those battles in matches. I actually think Tosin would be a great fit for Leeds Post-promotion (note - I wish I was that confident). Would be a good replacement for Ben White.
JR: Which particular Leeds players do you look at as an opposition fan?
Andy: When I look at Leeds that first eleven is very high quality. My first pick would always be Kalvin Phillips, I think he can play for England. I think Tyler Roberts has really improved under Marcelo Bielsa. Obviously, Pablo Hernandez is just class and Mateusz Klich always seems to turn up against us. I’m also not down on Patrick Bamford, can’t deny that he doesn’t score the volume he should do but he is still an effective forward for his role.
JR: Finally, a Prediction?
Andy: In terms of a prediction I am actually going to predict a Leeds win (in hope of inciting some kind of reverse hoodoo). 2-1 to Leeds.
You can follow Andy Watson on Twitter @andywatsonsport, thanks for taking the time to speak to me.