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Appleton: Rovers stars can be heroes
MICHAEL Appleton will tell his Blackburn Rovers squad ‘make yourself a hero’ as they look to secure a place at Wembley for the first time since their Charity Shield appearance in 1995.
Rovers travel to Millwall on Sunday in an FA Cup quarter final, knowing they could be 90 minutes away from Wembley, and boss Appleton admits it is a “fantastic opportunity” for the club.
Appleton said: “There is no shying away from the fact this is a great opportunity and I’m sure Kenny (Jackett) and Millwall will be saying exactly the same.
“It is a quarter final tie with two Championship teams going head to head and knowing the likelihood is the winners will play one of the big boys at a magnificent stadium.
“It is all to play for, they will go in as favourites but you just don’t know. Maybe it is someone’s opportunity to be a hero, that is what I will be telling them.”
Rovers and Millwall are both struggling for form in the Championship with Appleton’s men winless in six in the league and the Londoners having lost six in their last seven matches.
But ahead of Sunday’s trip Appleton believes both can forget about their Championship struggles as they look for a place in history.
“It is an opportunity,” he said. “It has been a poor couple of weeks for us, we have had a lot of gamesand they haven’t gone our way for one reason or another.
“We can put that to bed for 10 days. We have a great opportunity to re-write history, and an opportunity to play at Wembley – I can’t remember the last time the football club did that.
“So I am sure the players will grasp that they have the opportunity to do something special.
“There are so many good things that could come out of the game on Sunday. I am sure the players will be delighted to be part of it.”
Rovers suffered their second successive defeat at Bolton on Tuesday night, going down to an injury time winner from Chris Eagles, but Appleton was delighted with his side’s display and is calling for more this weekend.
He said: “I think everyone here witnessed an end-to-end blood and thunder derby, as you would expect. Even the goal came late, it was certainly one that kept you on the edge of your seat.
“I said to the players ‘tonight I enjoyed the game’, I enjoyed watching them because I got people working for the cause and they were backing each other up and proud to wear the shirt.
“Their goalkeeper made more saves and that is a positive. I have been saying to the players we have made their keeper work hard and Bolton’s biggest threat was their throw in. I’m sure I will see that work rate and desire again on Sunday.”
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