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Appleton: Rovers must overcome fear of history
12:00am Saturday 16th March 2013 in Sport
MICHAEL Appleton has called on his ‘big characters’ to lead the derby charge tomorrow after admitting some of his squad could struggle to cope with the weight of history.
Injury-hit Rovers go into tomorrow’s East Lancashire derby at home to Burnley having not lost to the Clarets for 34 years but boss Appleton admits some of his squad could be daunted by expectations.
The Rovers boss though is confident several of his squad, the likes of David Dunn, Grant Hanley and Jason Lowe, know exactly how much is riding on the clash and believes they can inspire their team mates.
Appleton, who added Chelsea full back Todd Kane to the club for a second spell on loan ahead of the game, said: “It is a Catch 22 situation, you have to have the right type of players and characters in the dressing room to come out with statements like that.
“If you feel comfortable you have the players that can handle that then great, to me that would drive me on to make sure it didn’t happen.
“But I might have a few personalities in that dressing room where I give them that information and they go completely into their shell.
“It is one of them where you filter that type of information to certain people in the dressing room rather than the whole squad. The people who have experienced it and are aware of the rivalry and others who are used to big games.”
Appleton was strongly linked to the vacant Burnley managerial position after Eddie Howe left the club for Bournemouth, although he declined to comment when asked about the speculation.
The Rovers boss though insists he is well aware of the significance of the clash as he looks to put a crippling injury list to one side.
He said: “I had heard a bit about the derby before I came here and I am obviously aware after conversations with the players and staff how big the game is to both supporters.
“Blackburn haven’t been beaten for 34 years now so there is so-called pressure that goes with that. But, from my point of view, it is the next game in East Lancashire derby history and so is the most important one.
“What has gone on in the past I can’t affect, I am looking forward to it, it should be a good atmsphere, a good crowd and hopefully a good day for Blackburn again.
“The injury situation certainly isn’t great. I spoke to Dave Fevre on Thursday night and he said, counting first team and reserve team players, we have 21 players out. He said he has never known anything like it.
“To be honest I’m not sure any club, ever, has known anything like it but all we can do is concentrate on the players we have available.”
Markus Olsson and Josh King will have hamstring injuries assessed before the game, but David Bentley (knee) and DJ Campbell (ankle) join an ever-growing injury list. Anton Forrester and John O’Sullivan are also doubtful having been on the substitutes bench on Wednesday.
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