Ahead of Norwich City's encounter with Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park, our man Connor Southwell speaks to the guys at Rovers Chat to get the lowdown on Norwich's next opponents.

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Considering where Rovers are situated geographically, how difficult is it to get young supporters into Ewood Park as opposed to following the trend and opting for United, City or Liverpool?

It’s very difficult to get those fans in at such a young age because of how close these big teams are and the availability of Sky Sports.
To give credit to the club though, the Community Trust at the club really do their best to get the young fans in with several events, working in schools and free tickets on plenty of occasions.

The harsh reality is that some of the fan base won’t be attending matches in the coming seasons, and those fans are massive to our future so we’ll need to do everything we can to make sure they’re coming for the years to come.

What’s the current situation with the ownership of the club? Seemingly they’ve managed to transform a respectable PL club into a League One club and the club now seems to be on the rise with Mowbray at the helm, is there still the same angst surrounding the Venky’s Premiership and what you say about foreign ownership in general?

The owners had a wake up call of some sort when we was relegated to League One and I think it (finally) got into their heads that they have to get this club back to the Premier League to recoup their losses.

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They do finally have a manager that they trust and a CEO (Steve Waggott) who can work together and know how to build the club, and the Venkys have now taken a back seat, letting Mowbray and Waggott get on with it.

I won’t forget what they have done to the club but it’s good to see them leaving it to people who know what they’re doing.
Foreign ownership is always a controversial topic in English football and I’m sure it always will be. They come in promising financial input and to take the club to the promised land, but how often does it work?

Blackburn have taken former Norwich loanee Harrison Reed on loan, how is he faring, and would you like to see him become a permanent addition at the club?

He’s been one of our best players! I think a lot of our fans were sceptical when he came into the club due to the sheer amount of central midfielders we had in the club.

However, we have all grown to love him, he’s picked up the nickname of the Ginger Ninja and he’s put in some excellent performances.

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Reed has contributed with goals, been a tough tackling warrior when we need him and always works hard. If you do those three, you can’t go wrong!

I’d love to see Rovers make a permanent move for Reed. He’s really fit into the squad and will play in the top flight in the future, so we should make that move for him in the summer.

Tony Mowbray is a seasoned Championship operator, is he somebody who can take Blackburn back to the big time or do you think that after he has stabilised the club, they should look for a more ‘attractive appointment’?

Mowbray can 100% take us to the big time in the coming years. If Venkys back him financially in the next few windows and we can keep our best players, then there’s no reason why we can’t push for the top flight.

Some supporters have questioned the gaffer when we’ve lost, but I think that’s just post-match emotions that get on top of them when they make these ridiculous claims – I hope!

He’s taken a club up before and he can do it again at Ewood Park – but it’ll be a year or two before we can even think about it.

Can you explain just how significant Mowbray has been to Blackburn, he’s seemed to have transformed a sinking ship into an adept Championship side?

You can’t underestimate the size of the job that Mowbray has done at Ewood. We were, as you’ve said, a sinking ship.
February 2017 saw a club with a little chance of staying up, no passion or fight for the badge and the fans the most distant from the club in years. There was no hope.

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Then, much to the disappointment of many fans at the time, Tony Mowbray was brought in.

22 months later, we look like a completely different club. Every player fights for the badge, for the boss and for each other. We’re competitive in every match, the fans and players are as close as I can remember, and everything seems as good as it could be.
I’m excited for each match now, which I couldn’t say before Mowbray came in.

Blackburn have drawn 10 games this season, why have they drawn so many?

It’s down to not being able to see games out or kill them off when we get the chances. So many matches roll off my tongue when naming the matches where we should’ve held on – Millwall, Aston Villa, Birmingham, etc.

We can look so great at one minute and look like a side that could get in the play-offs, and then something happens, and we just end up falling to pieces and concede either a sloppy goal or an absolute wonder strike.

Last week’s draw with Birmingham sums it up. Two nil up with twenty minutes to go and we were flying and still having chances, we give away a stupid penalty and we end up drawing.

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If you looked at the amount of points dropped from winning positions this season, I bet we’d be in the play-offs.

What philosophy can Norwich expect to face from Blackburn and who is the main man that Norwich should be aware of?

We’re not the best team technically, and I’m sure even our players would admit that, but the hard work and fight we put in more than makes up for it.

Rovers will use long ball up to our main man Danny Graham, who uses his hold up play to bring our three supporting attackers into the match and that’s how we get the goals.

Our full backs will push forward and help out the wide men, whilst our two holding centre midfielders stay a little further back to help our centre halves out on a counter attack.

Norwich’s style of play will probably help us. We struggle against sides who sit back and let us have the ball so that we’ve got to break down the defence, and we really struggle with that. The Canaries’ style will allow Dack to express himself more and that’ll help us a lot.

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Bradley Dack is one of the names on peoples lips this season, how big of a talent is he and is it realistic to assume he can stay the club beyond the next two transfer windows?

Dack is a huge talent and he’ll play in the best league in the world by the end of this decade, definitely. I’ve not seen someone who has such control of a football and opposition defenders in years. His eye for a pass coupled with his deadly finishing means he’ll easily make it in the top flight.

I would be shocked if he’s still a Blackburn Rovers player come next summer, unless we have an excellent run from now until May and end up getting in the top six.

It’s all about progress. If we show that we can push on and go for promotion, then he may remain at the club for next season, but I really cannot see it.

What are your thoughts on Norwich? Do they act as an example of what can achieved despite not having lots of money and how success can be achieved in the face of adversity?

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I’m so impressed by Norwich this season and kudos to Daniel Farke for everything the club has achieved.

I think it shows hope for us all that you don’t need to spend lots of money like West Brom or Nottingham Forest to go and achieve things, and that’s what makes your achievements so impressive.

A good team spirit, a philosophy that works and a manager that’s supported by the board when things aren’t going the way they should be can go a long, long way.

Interested to hear the wider perspective on Norwich and Daniel Farke, what do you think of the job the German has done but also Norwich’s restructure as a whole? You obviously saw Norwich last under Alan Irvine at the beginning of the process, what do you make of it now?

Farke has done an excellent job at the club. It was a slow start for Norwich but something seemed to clicked and now they look unstoppable.
Norwich’s restructure since the last time we played is very impressive. The model of using a German manager (like Huddersfield) seems to be becoming more and more popular these days and it’s worked at Carrow Road.

I do hope that Norwich go up ahead of the clubs who have spent loads. It’s always good to see home grown talent come through the ranks at any club and promotion to the Premier League would be good to see – despite what some say on TalkSport!

Would you like Blackburn to adopt the approach Norwich have in having a Sporting Director and a Head Coach or do you like simply having a manager?

I really wouldn’t to be fair. We had one in the year we went down who played a part in transfer negotiations and something didn’t seem right – you could also see Mowbray wasn’t happy.

Our CEO Steve Waggott does assist Mowbray a bit, but everything is ultimately down to the manager.
It’s worked with the way we do it. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.

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We’ve both had Paul Lambert as manager. Thoughts?

I felt almost let down with the way everything went with Paul Lambert.

I was happy when he came in due to the work he did at Norwich City, but everything just went wrong.

He started well and things seemed to be on the up, but he seemed to think he’d get some huge transfer kitty for the following summer, and he ended up wanting to leave when he didn’t get this.

He’s not gone on to do much so I am glad he ended up leaving the club.

Finally, a score prediction and predicted line up would be grand….

It’s a very tough game for Rovers, but we’ve beat Leeds at home already this season so I’m going to go for (optimistically) a 1-0 win for Rovers, with Dack getting the vital goal.

Predicted formation: [4-2-3-1] Raya, Nyambe, Mulgrew, Lenihan, Williams, Smallwood, Evans, Reed, Dack, Armstrong, Graham

Connor Southwell

Managing the TNC website, Connor's adherence with Norwich City manifested itself from an early age and has been a rollercoaster, witnessing football from League One to the Premier League. He once played a bit too, Connor attempts to write sensibly and honestly. Which is hard being a NCFC fan!

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