L 4-3 vs Blackburn Rovers (A) - League Cup, Tue 8th August, 7:45pm

A slightly early look ahead to our annual flirtation with the League Cup, which begins and may just end with an away tie at Championship side Blackburn Rovers.

The Opposition

Blackburn have enjoyed a decent few years in the Championship, though finishing consecutive seasons on 69 points has seen them twice fall just short of the top six. Despite missing the play-offs on goal difference last term, they did make the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and the Fourth Round of the LC.

They will be weakened by the loss of their leading scorer in recent seasons, Sjoke-born Chile international Ben Brereton Diaz, who has left for sunnier climes. Meanwhile, swaggering toss-post Bradley Dack has opted for Sunderland, having spent six seasons at Ewood Park.

The Proposition

A bit of free hit in a game we’re not expected to win or draw. Wouldn’t expect a lot of changes from the season opener at Morecambe, but will be interesting to see if we revert to a flat back four/five in a game where we wont expect to see much of the ball.

No injuries beyond the long-term absentees at the time of writing, though Liam Kinsella is not expected to feature, having left and joined another club.

The First Time

The first game between the clubs was an FA Cup tie in January 1931. An honourable 1-1 at Ewood Park took the tie to a replay that Blackburn won 3-0 at Fellows Park five days later. We wouldn’t meet again for more than 40 years, a goalless Third Division tie in September 1971.

The Worst Time

A 3-0 defeat at Blackburn in the penultimate game of the 88/89 season piled further misery on already relegated Walsall, who finished rock bottom in Division 2. The Saddlers ended 16 points adrift in a campaign that featured that 15-game losing streak.

The Last Time

An early brace from Danny Graham secured a 2-1 away win for Blackburn in February 2018. A Jack Fitzwater goal on the cusp half-time halved the deficit, but the then league-leaders held out despite the relentless efforts of Justin Shaibu and Julien Ngoy. Boss Jon Whitney was sacked four games later.

Played For Both

With the face of a young Frank Skinner chewing a wasp, Mitchel Candlin’s goal scoring exploits at youth level garnered great hope amongst Walsall fans and the attention of higher-league scouts.

It was Blackburn who took a punt, loaning Candlin on the last day of the 2018 summer transfer window with the view to a permanent move. It didn’t work out, and a swiftly returned Candlin would make just 8 first team appearances before slipping into non-league, where he most recently played for Chasetown.

Also: Scott Dann, Andy Taylor, Danny Gurthrie (sp), Paul Downing, Simeon Jackson…

Lump On

Clutching at straws, but Blackburn exited the competition to lower tier opposition as recently as 21/22, knocked out in the First Round by local rivals Morecambe.

Lump Off

We’ve progressed beyond the First Round of the League Cup eight times in the past 20 years and twice in the last seven…

Vaguely Interesting Fact

When the clubs last met in the League Cup back in November 2002, the starting teams comprised 13 different nationalities: Australian, Brazilian, English, German, Guyanese, Irish, Italian, Jamaican, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Northern Irish and a New Zealander.

Blackburn also had a Scotman and a Norwegian on the bench.

UTS Match Poll

  • Walsall Win (90 Minutes)
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Thanks for the comprehensive introduction @simon, just missing a section on difficulty of the place to go. :+1:


I sense someone will have that covered.


Bit gutted i cant make this as fairly local for me but will be away in Polska. Went to the 3-0 in 88-89, a depressing day in a season of depressing days

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Was introduced to chips and gravy for the first time after that game, at a chippy just down the road from the ground. Absolutely wonderful and helped to forget the game for as long as they lasted.

Yeah I d wiped from my mind our :notes: relegation celebration​:notes: much rather remember my first visit an enjoyable 3-3 on grand national day many moons ago

That last league cup visit to Ewood Park ended us with us losing on penalties (where have I heard that before?)

1-1 after 90, 2-2 after extra time (we’d gone in front but Blackburn equalised with a deflection off a very unfortunate Ian Roper), lost the shootout 5-4 with Wracky being the only taker to fail (saved).

PS No extra time in the early rounds of the competetion these days - straight to penalties.

I hate mountaineering in the rain as well :smiley:


That’s what I meant, obvs…

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If you are driving to Ewood, take care, I heard somewhere that there are 4,000 holes up there.


Every time we play Blackburn I always think back to Derek Fazackerley’s wonderful own goal that he scored for us at Fellows park almost fifty years ago. In my memory is correct, it was a glorious thirty yard lobbed back pass over the goalkeepers head.


Will definitely be making the trip from Preston to this one! Excited!

How is the parking situation at Ewood Park, I know its stuff I can research myself but someone might have first hand knowledge :thinking:

Don’t know what street parking is like, but you can pay to park on the B car park, which is at the away/Darwen end of the ground @ £12.00

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That’s a lot of money to car your park.

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You do realise that you will have started endless puns with that quote :joy: :wink:

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This any use?

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Thanks Lads, got my two tickets for this one. Should be good!

I’m assuming there will be a pay on the day option.

Haven’t seen this confirmed. Anyone know for sure?

Me and a mate made the trip up to see that one - we played well but didn’t get the rub of the green. A decent Saddlers following in an eerily empty Ewood park.

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What players f/ formation would you use for this game?