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AFC Bournemouth: Spotlight on the opposition - Blackburn Rovers
THE current crop of Cherries stars will be looking to join some illustrious names on the list of players to have scored against Blackburn Rovers.
Despite clashes against the Ewood Park outfit being few and far between, former crowd pleasers such as Gavin Peacock, Luther Blissett, Colin Clarke and Micky Cave all netted against Rovers over the years.
The first meeting between Cherries and their Lancashire rivals was decided by Cave’s solitary strike in front of 13,280 at Dean Court in August 1971 before the popular midfielder repeated the trick in a 3-0 success in March 1973.
Blackburn generally held the upper hand before gaining promotion back to Division Two in 1975, a step up that divided the clubs for 12 years before Cherries joined Rovers in the second tier.
More famous names took their chance to appear on the scoresheet with future boss Sean O’Driscoll grabbing Cherries’ goal in a 1-1 draw at Dean Court in October 1987.
Blissett and Northern Ireland international Clarke shared the plaudits in AFC Bournemouth’s last league win over Rovers, a 2-1 victory in December 1988.
Goals from Peacock, who was signed by Harry Redknapp for a then record fee of £250,000 in August 1989, and Blissett weren’t enough to prevent a 4-2 home defeat in September 1989, while Paul Moulden’s strike snaffled Cherries’ first and only league point at Ewood Park five months later.
The clubs have not met in the league since Cherries were relegated back to Division Three at the end of that season, but Blackburn enjoyed two cup successes in 1993 before one of Cherries’ biggest cup scalps in recent times.
Managed by O’Driscoll, AFC Bournemouth shared a thrilling 3-3 League Cup draw with their Premier League hosts at Ewood Park.
Garreth O’Connor, Karl Broadhurst and an extra-time strike from John Spicer shocked Blackburn’s big guns before on-loan defender Eddie Howe slotted home a decisive penalty to win a dramatic shoot-out 7-6.
Back to the current campaign and Cherries may fancy their chances against a team who have yet to win on the road in the Championship this season.
Despite being considered one the division’s big guns, Blackburn have suffered a very public downfall in recent seasons.
Under-fire manager Steve Kean left in September 2012 shortly after Rovers’ relegation to the Championship before Henning Berg (57 days) and Michael Appleton (67 days) quickly became the shortest-serving bosses in Rovers’ 137-year history.
Latest incumbent Gary Bowyer has endured a tough start to the season with just two wins from eight games.
Strike sensation Jordan Rhodes, Blackburn’s £8million record signing, has papered over some of the cracks with six goals, including two in Rovers’ 4-1 thrashing of fierce rivals and bottom club Bolton four weeks ago.
But three winless matches later and hopes of a Premier League return have taken a wobble ahead of a trip to Dean Court, where Cherries have won four out of five competitive fixtures this season.
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