Blackburn preview

Friday 10 May 2002

United States international Eddie Lewis could taste first-team action for the first time in 18 months.

With Fulham having already bagged a 2-0 victory against Rovers at Craven Cottage earlier this season there's little doubt that Rovers will be look for revenge. Especially since Saturday's match will be the first encounter between the two sides at Ewood Park since last season's memorable victory.

However Rovers' recent run of results appears to suggest that they've turned the corner since their 2-1 loss away at Leicester at the end of March.

Victories against Southampton, Middlesbrough and Everton along with draws against Chelsea and Newcastle have helped to confirm their Premiership standing. And with the likes of Duff, Dunn and Jansen all in fine form, Fulham will have to be watchful.

Blackburn are one of only three clubs to have won the Premiership title. In the first three years of the competition they never finished outside the top four. Their final position this time will be the highest since their sixth placing in 1997/98.

Both these clubs could fall as low as 15th, in which case they would pocket £2,640,000 in merit payments. But a Fulham win with other results going their way could see them as high as 11th, meaning £4,400,000 from the prize pot. Rovers could fare one place and £440,000 better than that.

It may be the last match of the season, but it's Fulham's first ever Premiership visit to Ewood Park. Victory here would mean Blackburn had won 150 League points under Graeme Souness.

Fulham, who haven't conceded in over five hours of Premiership football, are hoping to extend their unbeaten run to five games. The Cottagers may be the top flight's draw specialists, but Blackburn go into this game on the back of two successive home stalemates.

Fulham won the reverse fixture 2-0 in February. Steve Marlet set up Barry Hayles for the opener on the half hour, while Steed Malbranque got the second from 20 yards. Craig Short elbowed Marlet and was shown the red card. That resulted in him missing Blackburn's victory over Spurs in the Worthington Cup Final.

A Fulham win here would secure their first home and away 'double' this season. Blackburn have been 'doubled' by Sunderland, Derby and Leeds.

Fulham completed the 'double' over fellow promoted Blackburn when they last in the Nationwide League - Division One, winning the trip to Ewood Park 1-2.

Blackburn are chasing their third win in four home League meetings with Fulham.

Fulham are hoping for a fourth win a row against Rovers, and are unbeaten in four home and away League meetings (3 wins, 1 draw), having scored twice on each occasion.

The Whites' last top flight victory at Ewood Park was 39 years ago. They finished 0-1 in the old League - Division One on 16 March, 1963.

Fulham are on course for a second successive 'double' over Graeme Souness' side and only their third over Blackburn since League hostilities began in 1936.