It’s been a hectic month for Blackburn Rovers with Venky’s coming in and turning the club upside down, sacking the manager and replacing him with a rookie.
But one thing is certain, and that is that Mame Biram Diouf is staying at Ewood. A no-release clause in the loan contract means he is not allowed to return to Manchester United until the end of the season – and there’s even talk of Rovers trying to make him a permanent addition to the Rovers squad as he continues to perform well for the club.
The month got off to a solid start, with Rovers smashing Wolves 3-0, somewhat fortuitously, only a week after that disappointing 7-1 thrashing at Old Trafford. Mame came on as a second half sub in that game and missed a late chance, Wolves keeper Hennessey making the save but the Senegalese striker should maybe have finished better.
At Bolton, Rovers were the better side but had gone behind. A lovely flick by Jason Roberts put through Diouf who raced through on goal to finish by chipping Jaaskelainen from a tight angle, sending the Rovers fans into raptures. This was shortlived, however, with Bolton scoring a winner just moments later. That game sparked pandemonium as Sam Allardyce was sacked the following day, totally inexplicably, and his signings, such as Diouf may have felt threatened by the departure of the man that brought them in.
In Steve Kean’s first game in charge, Rovers drew 1-1 with bottom of the league West Ham. The United man was again partnered by Jason Roberts, but there was no creativity and absolutely no attacking threat from either as post-Sam Allardyce fears became reality. It was much the same in the next game at home to Stoke, as Diouf, this time partnered by Niko Kalinic, struggled to make an impact and Stoke eased to an embarrassing victory over us.
A visit to West Brom on the Tuesday after Christmas proved far more fruitful. Again, Diouf was given a full 90 minutes and was at the forefront of many attacks, missing two chances – one off target and one saved by Carson – as well as scoring a low header to seal a 3-1 win.
A mixed bag of a month for both Rovers and Diouf, but he’s now top scorer and a first team regular who always looks dangerous going forward.
By Dan Clough, the creator of the 4,000 Holes Blackburn Rovers fanzine.
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