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Premier League preview: Blackburn v Wolves

11 August 2011 18:33

Two teams that fought relegation last season meet at Ewood Park on Saturday, as Blackburn Rovers host Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Blackburn and Wolves both had narrow escapes in the 2010/11 English Premier League season.

The sides played each other on the last day of the campaign at Molineux Stadium, with Blackburn running out 3-2 winners to finish four points above the drop zone.

Despite their defeat, Wolves survived by a point, staying up at the expense of Birmingham City and Blackpool.

And although Blackburn did not have to rely on other results to retain their top-flight status, a 15th-placed finish would hardly have been deemed a success by the club's owners, Venkys.

The Indian poultry company took over Blackburn in November 2010 and, just a month later, dismissed manager Sam Allardyce, who had guided the club to a respectable finish of 10th the season before.

The Venkys family made expressions of interest in former Barcelona phenomenon Ronaldinho, and admitted to considering former Argentina coach Maradonna as Allardyce's replacement.

They eventually installed first-team coach Steve Kean as caretaker and then full-time manager, but not before setting unrealistic expectations of a fourth- or fifth-place finish, despite offering a transfer budget of no more than five million pounds.

So far, the only close-season arrivals have been Scots David Goodwillie and Myles Anderson from Dundee United and Aberdeen respectively, as well as Serbian Radosav Petrovic from Partizan Belgrade.

The sale of defender Phil Jones to Manchester United for a reported fee of 16 million pounds would appear good business, but the proceeds are yet to be substantially reinvested in the squad.

After a narrow escape last season, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy has made two major outlays as he prepares his team for their third consecutive Premier League campaign.

Centre-back Roger Johnson has been recruited from relegated Birmingham for seven million pounds, a sizeable figure given that club's well-documented financial constraints.

The other is midfielder Jamie O'Hara, a five million-pound signing from Tottenham who spent the second half of the 2010/11 season on loan at Wolves.

Dutch goalkeeper Dorus de Vries has also joined on a free transfer after helping Swansea gain promotion via the Championship playoffs.

While Wolves have clearly spent more in their attempt to consolidate, it remains to be seen if either club's recruitment will help them avoid another season of struggle at the wrong end of the table.

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