BLACKBURN Rovers are hopeful lucky charm Tom Cairney will be fit to take his place in their starting line-up for Saturday’s Ewood Park clash with Charlton Athletic.

The influential midfielder’s stint on the sidelines has coincided with Rovers slipping out of the play-off places.


Cairney missed the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough through suspension before injury prevented him from playing any part in the defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Brentford.

But, after a three-game absence, the 23-year-old has a chance of returning for Rovers’ final match before Christmas.

That would be a huge boost to Gary Bowyer as Cairney, the club’s reigning player of the year, has become one of his most important players.

That is underlined by the fact that Rovers have lost seven and won only one of the 12 games he has sat out through suspension or injury since his switch from Hull City at the start of last season.

And Cairney could have missed more matches this season with the ankle problem that means he remains touch and go for the Charlton encounter.

He played through the pain barrier in his last appearance, the 2-1 home win over Leeds United, in which he received the second sending off of his Rovers career.

And while he was banned for the trip to Middlesbrough there was little chance he would have been able to play.

Rovers boss Bowyer will be lifted by the return of Josh King on Saturday.

The winger made his comeback from the back injury that has sidelined him for two months in last night’s U21s Premier League game against Derby County, scoring before being taken off at half-time.

Matt Kilgallon did not feature against the Rams.

But the defender has made good progress on the knee injury that has ruled him out since the middle of October and he will be fit to face the Addicks.

Bowyer’s other concern, apart from long-term injury victim Tommy Spurr, is Chris Brown.

The striker sat out last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Brentford after complaining of soreness in his knee.

But he should be back in the squad on Saturday.

One player certain to start for Rovers against the Addicks is left back Markus Olsson.

Olsson was his side’s best player on a disappointing afternoon at Griffin Park.

And, at 26, he was also one of their oldest.

But despite the relatively young nature of the Rovers squad, Olsson insists they have the maturity to talk through their drop in form.

“It’s a young team, a very young team,” said the Sweden international.

“I’m one of the older ones and I’m not that old but everyone tries to talk.

“The manager encourages us to communicate more with each other because we’re a young team.

“Without Dunny (David Dunn) and Killa (Kilgallon) we’re a very young team so everyone must speak their mind and direct each other in the right way.

“Being quiet doesn’t help because if somebody switches off someone needs to tell that person.

“I think that’s what a side needs to be successful. I think everyone has to push each other and demand a higher quality from each other, otherwise we’d feel like we were happy, even if we make mistakes.

“We can’t just clap hands and say ‘well done’, you’ve got to tell a player to do better and be like that the whole game so that we help each other.

“You can be hard to a person but in a good way. It’s nothing personal.”