MARCH 29, 1987, May 25, 1992, May 14, 1995, and February 24, 2002 – they are the most memorable dates in Blackburn Rovers’ most recent history.

Only one other date can truly rival the Full Members’ Cup final success, the Second Division play-off final victory, the day the Premiership title was secured, and the day the Worthington Cup was won.


And that date is May 2, 2001. That, of course, is when Rovers sealed their place back in the top flight with a 1-0 win at Preston North End.

Today marks the first time the Ewood Park outfit have returned to Deepdale for a competitive match since that unforgettable night.

This afternoon’s Championship clash is sure to bring memories flooding back with the man responsible for most of them being the one who scored the only goal of the game.

There were 72 minutes on the clock when Craig Hignett whipped over a corner from the right which Craig Short headed across goal where Matt Jansen got in front of his captain Garry Flitcroft to head home and send the thousands of travelling supporters crammed into the ground into rapture.

It is a goal that Jansen, now manager of National League North outfit Chorley, having taken over that job from Flitcroft in the summer, will never forget.

“It was incredible to score the winner that took us into the Premier League,” said the former striker.

“I think if you see the pictures Garry Flitcroft is just behind me – he’s always said I nicked it off him!

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“I was a glory hunter. He pushed me out of the way and I fell on to the ball, he says!

“I can’t remember much of the night afterwards because we went out for a few drinks but it was a fantastic time in my career and for Blackburn Rovers.”

Another member of the Rovers side that night was midfielder Damien Johnson who had an effort disallowed before Jansen netted the goal that ensured the players and manager Graeme Souness achieved their aim of winning promotion for the late Jack Walker.

“It was brilliant,” said Johnson, who is now back at Rovers as the club’s Under-21 lead coach.

“But I’m still not happy about having a goal disallowed!

“It was a tremendous atmosphere, our fans went down there in their droves, and it was like a home game.

“It was an unbelievable feeling and we just had that feeling we weren’t going to be stopped.”