IT is well over a decade since Blackburn Rovers, Burnley and Accrington Stanley all reached this stage of the year with such uncertainty about which division they would be playing in next season.

It is a time so long ago that John Coleman was not the manager of Stanley, Corrado Grabbi was still regarded as something of a talent and Michael Jackson had yet to begin his world-renowned love affair with Fulham. Hard to imagine now, I know.

If each of East Lancashire’s biggest clubs have experienced important times since then, never have all three arrived at that point in unison.

The final weeks of the current campaign could define the histories of the trio for some years to come. The impact on the region should not be underestimated.

For that reason, we must wish all three clubs well.

It is perhaps not a popular view, given the fierce rivalry that has long existed between Blackburn and Burnley in particular.

But surely the best outcome for all concerned must be for the two clubs to meet next season in the Premier League?

Both clubs will get the derby they so desire and both will have the opportunity to build once more after a difficult period.

For Stanley, reaching League One would be a feat so miraculous, given the resources they have worked with in recent times, that there must be no assumptions made that the chance will definitely come around again.

Their progress has been constant for many years, but life holds no guarantees.

We look at Yorkshire and the East Midlands for reminders that regional success in football terms does not go on forever.

That is why now is the time for all those who care about football in this area to back their club from the stands, whichever of the three that may be.