The Glenn Keeley column

THE latest Premier League table makes for painful reading if you're a Blackburn Rovers fan.

Third from bottom in the table with just one win from the opening nine games is a worrying situation in itself.

But what concerns me more than anything else right now are the columns indicating the goals for and against.

So far this season, Rovers have conceded an average of two goals per game.

In contrast, we've mustered less than a goal a game ourselves and it hardly takes a rocket scientist to work out that such a situation cannot go on indefinitely.

As far as I'm concerned, I think the two problems are intrinsically linked together.

When you're not scoring goals at one end, it puts even greater onus on how you defend at the other because you know that if you concede then you're always going to struggle to claw it back.

At the moment, when Rovers go 1-0 down in a match the players know they're facing a mountain to climb and if they go 2-0 down, they probably think it's game over because of the shortage of goals in the side.

In that situation, players perhaps don't battle and scrap quite as hard as they would if they genuinely believed there was a chance of getting a result.

When it boils down to it, a lot of football is down to belief and confidence.

If you're scoring goals and seizing the initiative in matches then everyone grows in confidence as a result.

If you're constantly struggling for goals and falling behind, then it has the opposite effect.

So I don't think you can lay the blame for Rovers' plight at the door of particular individuals.

Defenders, to a large extent, are reliant on what's happening around them and the key is to get them performing as a unit.

The imminent return to fitness of Andy Todd may provide Mark Hughes with more options at the back but I don't think he's the answer to all our prayers on his own.

On Saturday against Middlesbrough, I was actually encouraged by our performance in the opening half hour.

I thought we started brightly and we were just beginning to grab the game by the scruff of the neck when Tugay had his rush of blood and got sent off.

That dismissal changed the whole course of events and we were fighting an uphill battle after that.

The problem now, of course, is a 4-0 home defeat may well have a damaging effect on confidence going into three massive games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Norwich.

Mark Hughes has his work cut out in raising morale for the challenges ahead but I still believe the backbone of the side is strong enough to keep us in this league if everyone starts performing to the best of their ability. If they don't, it could be a long, hard winter.