Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rovers Are Up for the Cup in Return Clash with City; FOOTBALL

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Rovers Are Up for the Cup in Return Clash with City; FOOTBALL

Article excerpt

GARY Bowyer believes his Blackburn team will relish the role of the underdog when they travel to fortress Etihad to meet in-form Manchester City tonight in their FA Cup third round replay.

Only European champions Bayern Munich have avoided defeat in the 15 games City have hosted this seasons with Manuel Pellegrini's men netting 59 goals.

Those statistics give an indication of the gargantuan task facing Rovers, who held City to a 1-1 draw at Ewood Park.

However, Bowyer's side have lost just one of their previous eight games and the Blackburn boss insists they make the trip in a buoyant mood as they try to halt the juggernaut that is City at the Etihad.

"Everyone's excited and relishing the challenge of going to a fantastic stadium to play a fantastic team," said Bowyer.

"We've got everything to gain.

No-one outside of our dressing room gives us a prayer and they are situations we quite like. We learn more about our players and they're really going to be tested. The players are excited about the opportunity to play against them again.

"No-one gave us a chance last time we played them - and we managed to get a draw. They are formidable at home but we'll be telling our players to go and have a good go at it and enjoy it and express themselves. We'll see how far they've come."

Successive wins over Leeds and Doncaster in the Sky Bet Championship have lifted spirits at Ewood Park, but there is a fear that a young, inexperienced squad could see their confi-dence evaporate at the prospect of City administering another thrashing.

That is not a theory which Bowyer subscribes to, though.

He added: "For the young ones, they have no fear. All they know is how to go and play and that is exactly what we're expecting from them again.

"We've got old heads around that will help them anyway, that's not a problem for them at all. …

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