BLACKBURN Rovers have been tipped to finish in the top six by the manager of tomorrow’s opponents Wolves.
Kenny Jackett, whose promoted side sit third in the early standings after a flying start to the season, has no doubt Rovers have what it takes to break into the play-offs after just missing out on a place in them last time out.
And he believes they stand an even better of promotion now they have fended off interest in star striker Jordan Rhodes from Hull City.
But not for one minute is Jackett calling Rovers, who have lost only one of their last 16 Championship matches, a one-man team.
“They’re established in the Championship, they’ve built up and gradually got better every season,” said Jackett, who is set to name an unchanged side for the fifth league game running despite the return of summer signing Tommy Rowe from injury and the arrival of £1m midfielder George Saville from Chelsea.
“At the back end of last season they got better again.
“I think now they’ll be one of the favourites having looked at their team. They’ve got a good side.
“They have a lot of attacking prowess. Jordan Rhodes is one of the top strikers in the division. If he’s at your club you’re guaranteed goals.
“Every season he’s got better, I think he’s got good hunger. Every season I’ve seen him, he’s improved his game.
“That shows a very good attitude as well as a considerable talent to score goals.
“Rudy Gestede and Tom Cairney have been good signings too, the latter in terms of being able to strike a ball, and just generally all round they’re a Championship side who I think will be in the top six.”
Jackett has lofty ambitions of his own after leading Wolves to the League One title with a record 103 points in his first season in charge at Molineux.
He has not ruled out the Black County outfit, who are unbeaten in their last 14 league games at home, from making it back-to-back promotions.
They have certainly started as they mean to go on with 1-0 victories over the three clubs who have come down from the Premier, Cardiff City, Fulham and Norwich City.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer, whose side sit 10th after last Saturday 3-2 home win over Bournemouth, said: “I think Kenny Jackett is a fantastic manager and it didn’t surprise me at all that he got them up and he got them up with such ease last season.
“He invested well in the squad, made his stance with the players he didn’t want, and he has kicked on again.
“They have beaten all three of the teams who got relegated out of the Premier League last season so they have made a terrific start.
“Molineux has always been a difficult place to go and it will be no different on Saturday.
“But we’ve got to take the positives out of our win over a very good Bournemouth side.”
Bowyer will once again be without left back Tommy Spurr and striker Chris Brown, although the latter is expected to return to full training next week after making progress with the knee injury which has prevented him from playing a minute’s football since signing for Rovers in the summer.
Centre back Matt Kilgallon could return after recovering from the back injury he sustained in the opening day draw at home to Cardiff City.
Norwich yesterday confirmed that Martin Olsson would miss their match at home to Bournemouth because of a family bereavement.
Rovers preferred not to comment when asked whether Markus Olsson – Martin’s twin brother and fellow left back – would be absent from the squad that travels to Molineux for the same reason.