UNDER Sam Allardyce, Rovers were very difficult to beat at home.

It might not have been pretty, but Big Sam knew how to get results and made sure Ewood was a fortress.


He was able to build on a legacy left by Mark Hughes (let’s pretend the Paul Ince era never happened) who started with the foundations and ensured we had a side that was defensively solid.

Sadly, since Allardyce was unfairly and ridiculously sacked during the chaotic early days of Venky’s rule, Fortress Ewood has been little more than a memory, until now.

After an excellent win against Wigan on Saturday we took our unbeaten league home tally to nine.

And in 2014, we have lost just two games at Ewood Park as Gary Bowyer has started to build a team capable of pushing for the top six.

That Fortress Ewood mentality is going to be crucial if we are to succeed in getting promotion, or at least achieving a play-off place.

Wigan were among the early season favourites for promotion and yet we showed that we can give anyone a beating on our own turf.

And if we can pull off a similar result against Derby tomorrow night, it will be further proof of our promotion credentials.

If that solid home form continues throughout the entirety of this season and we can enjoy moderate success on the road, there is no reason we can’t go one better than last term.

The squad is showing tremendous character and more individuals are emerging from the shadows.

Markus Olsson has come on leaps and bounds as he fills in for left back Tommy Spurr, who may well struggle to regain his place in the side when he returns from injury.

And Ben Marshall’s excellent performance was something to get excited about as we can sometimes struggle for that bit of magic in midfield.

As for the gaffer, there’s always the ‘he hasn’t got a plan B’ brigade shouting from the rooftops, but his 4-3-3 line-up certainly worked during the second 45 minutes at the weekend and that attacking mentality is something to be welcomed.

Galvanised and feeling positive, now would be a great time to go on a run, starting with the big game tomorrow night.

Heading towards the international break in October it would be nice to take 10 points from the available 15 in home games against Derby, Watford and Huddersfield and trips to Fulham and Rotherham.

It is early days yet but we are keeping pace with the early front-runners and it is imperative we continue to do so in the coming weeks, especially as sides like Wigan and Cardiff have stuttered and will have to play catch-up.