Down by the Riverside with Phil Lloyd ANYONE remember Ken Furphy?

Our manager in the dark days of the early 70s, Furphy presided over Division Three football, yet provided some glorious memories too with the goalscoring of Tony Field and the goalkeeping of Roger Jones.

What has this to do with today's Rovers under Graeme Souness, I hear you ask?

Only that I remember Furphy also was the man who picked quite different teams to play at home, compared with those chosen for away fixtures. Well before Dennis Bergkamp's legendary fear of flying, Rovers fans wondered whether some players had a fear of coach travel, so rarely did they take up a seat for an away match!

These musings arise from our continued struggle to break down massed defences when playing at home.

Take Saturday, for instance. Creative players in abundance roamed the field in blue and white shirts, but chances remained at a premium. One-nil was enough to leave the home fans happy and Bolton looking like a distance runner about to overhauled and denied his medal. But I still sense we haven't quite cracked this winning at home business.

Matt Jansen is a case in point. Stifled by a lack of space, his light flickers only intermittently at Ewood. In away games, he is a beacon, a constant threat, a thorn in the side of opposing defenders.

Away from home the Souness system is already paying dividends, beyond our hopes recently. Long may that continue. But I'd sleep a little easier if the yield in terms of home goals was healthier.

Brian Kidd's return to the limelight last weekend provided another talking point. It remains the greatest mystery of his ill-fated reign at Ewood that Kidd, praised for bringing on the youngsters at MUFC and now at Leeds, gave us Grayson and Ward where we now have Curtis and Bent. And that he should have left Dunn and Duff languishing, while lesser talents failed either to stir the passions or deliver the points.

The side that Graeme built blends youth and experience, and bodes well for the future. And, if we should end up playing two cup games this week, I guess we'll also be seeing the depth of Souness' squad.

Because the next really big match isn't Bolton tomorrow nor (if it transpires) Arsenal on Saturday. The St Andrews quagmire in darkest Birmingham is waiting to swallow us up, eight days from now!