KEAN GRATEFUL FOR FERGUSON SUPPORT
If Blackburn do manage to secure their Barclays Premier League status this season then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will have played a part.
As well as choosing to leave out Wayne Rooney for the clash at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve that then-bottom side Rovers won 3-2, Ferguson was also one of boss Steve Kean's most outspoken backers when Rovers fans' protests against him reached their height.
That came just before the Old Trafford clash when Blackburn lost back-to-back home matches against West Brom and Bolton, and Ferguson was one of a number of managers to call Kean and offer his support.
United travel to Ewood Park for the reverse fixture on Monday and they will find Rovers in a much healthier position, now three points above the relegation zone and with supporters, while certainly not universally behind Kean, having toned down their protests.
Kean said of Ferguson's backing: "During that period I spoke to him on the phone, I had a really good conversation with him, so I take my hat off to him for taking the time to pick the phone up.
"It means a lot because you know how busy these people are and the amount of strain on his time so I really appreciated that call."
Blackburn have certainly picked up wins on a more consistent basis since their Old Trafford success and can take confidence from their recent results against the champions.
As well as December's victory, they have also held United to draws in the last two meetings at Ewood Park, although they were also beaten 7-1 at Old Trafford last season.
Looking back to December, Kean said: "We played well that day. If you can get a good positive start and put teams under pressure - we normally create chances and give ourselves a very good chance to score.
"If you look back, not only at that game, but at the last four games when we've played United, I think it's a win for each club and two draws so I don't think it'll be a quiet game at Ewood.
"The atmosphere that we've been putting back into the ground of late has been excellent. I think it's probably one of the games the supporters look forward to year in, year out.
"We're playing against a team that's bang in form and I'm sure the fans will want to see us being the way we were the last couple of home games."
Rovers will certainly not be favourites to get anything from Monday's clash, with United on a run of six successive Premier League victories, but they have taken 10 points from their last five home games.
Last weekend's loss to fellow strugglers Bolton was a blow, but Kean believes a settled team, particularly in defence, has been a major part of their improved form.
He said: "We've lost Chris Samba but we've managed to put together a back four that's playing consistently and I don't think it's any coincidence that we're consistently picking up points now.
"The job's far from done yet but if you look at March, we wanted to go unbeaten and we were disappointed we felt we let ourselves down in the last game, but we can now look ahead to the five games we've got coming up in this month and set a target, which first of all is performance and consistency.
"We can take massive confidence from where we were at Christmas time and how far we've come. We've got a settled group of lads that want to be in a working environment.
"We can see that there's progress being made but we need to push ourselves over the line, and I'm sure we will."
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