DERBY hero Craig Short reckons Blackburn Rovers could not have wished for a better game than Burnley to get their campaign back on track.
Gary Bowyer’s side are still smarting from the 4-0 defeat at Bolton that dented their play-off challenge and the pride they have put back into the club this season.
But first-team coach Short, whose goal set Rovers on their way to a famous 5-0 win over the Clarets in April 2001, believes the chance to put one over their high-flying rivals on Sunday will only serve to motivate them further to bounce back.
“They are a young group of players who accept responsibility and accept that the standards they showed at Bolton on Saturday were not what they were over the unbeaten run we enjoyed before it nor for most of the season,” said Short, who returned to Rovers in the summer to take his place on boss Bowyer’s coaching staff.
“It was probably the most disappointing performance we’ve had away from home.
“There was Ipswich and Brighton when individual mistakes cost us but at Bolton it was the way we didn’t compete, which was so different to the week before against Reading.
“But there will certainly be no complacency this weekend.
“With respect to teams like Yeovil, Doncaster or Barnsley, it’s good that we’ve got Burnley at home.
“We have to really respect them because they are a settled team that just keeps going.
“People have been saying all season they are going to blow up because they haven’t got a big squad and they’ve haven’t spent big money but they know their jobs and they’ve had momentum and confidence.
“But they will know Ewood is a difficult place to come.”
Rovers, who have lost just one of their last 10 matches at home, have not been beaten by Burnley since 1979.
But the talk around Brockhall this week has not been about that 35-year unbeaten run. Instead it has been about ensuring the hard work Rovers have put in to give themselves a chance of the top six, and give supporters a team that they can be proud of after three turbulent years, continues.
“They’ve worked so hard to get themselves in touching distance now they can’t let it go,” said Short, who helped Rovers win promotion back to the Premier League in 2001.
“We need to keep going right until the end.
“We’ve got a lot of midweek games coming up so you could get nine points in eight days and then all of a sudden you can take a significant twist.
“But whatever happens we just want the fans to go away in the summer being optimistic that they’ve got a group of lads here who will fight and work hard for each.
“For most of the time this season they have done that.
“But Saturday was disappointing and they know that as much as anyone. We’ll be looking to put it right on Sunday.”