Last season: 7th
Key signing: Carlos Villaneuva
With Paul Robinson replacing Brad Friedel in goal, it seems like a downgrade. But with exciting, young Chilean prospect Carlos Villaneuva, there’s the chance of finding a star (at the risk of him being a flop). He is initially on a season-long loan from Chilean side Audax Italiano with a view to a permanent deal at the end of this season. Little is known about him in this country, less than Morten Gamst Pedersen when he arrived at Blackburn and shone. But he is believed to have excellent passing skills and has been capped 12 time by Chile.
Key player: Roque Santa Cruz
With Morten Gamst Pedersen lacking in form last season and Benni McCarthy not hitting the heights of his first season at Rovers, Roque Santa Cruz proved a pivotal part of the Blackburn team last season, and with his 19 goals, helped Blackburn into 7th position. He is a threat with both his feet and his head and has since been linked with moves to other Premier League teams including former Blackburn boss Mark Hughes’ Manchester City.
Blackburn Rovers finished an impressive 7th last season with good performances from the likes of David Bentley, Roque Santa Cruz and Brad Friedel. With both David Bentley moving to Spurs and Brad Friedel moving to Aston Villa, as well as manager Mark Hughes going to Manchester City, it seems Blackburn will be in for a much tougher and less-successful season this time round.
New manager Paul Ince, who had previously been linked away from Milton Keynes Dons several times, will be experiencing his first taste of top flight football having only previously managed 2 teams, both in league two and only for 1 season each. Blackburn have taken a massive gamble in the highly-rated young manager. But even with a more experienced manager they couldn’t expect a better finish than last season.
A top half finish for Ince would be a big success, but a bottom half finish is more likely.