Thomas Pickles says the Rovers game is not the be all and end all.
I can’t believe I’m writing this.
Who’d have thought that at the most likely point of us turning Rovers over, in their back yard for the first time in over three decades, we have bigger fish to fry.
I would never, ever say that a game against Blackburn Rovers doesn’t matter because that would be a ridiculous lie. However, the Rovers game comes at the tail end of a tense trio of fixtures. Before the season begun, the match on March 9th would’ve had all the focus.
The same can’t be said now.
The Nottingham Forest game was massive. Before, dare I say it, some were speculating how a victory would make it almost unbelievable to slip out of the play-offs come June. Win we did. And in style. In swaggering, composed, watch-with-your-mouth-open style.
And on Saturday, we face Derby County. In other circumstances, it would’ve been fair to assume many would have had both eyes on the Rovers game.
But no. The match against Derby is titanic. They’ve soared under Steve McClaren’s stewardship and with QPR’s stuttering form, they’ve appeared as the biggest threat to Burnley’s automatic promotion place.
It feels wrong to write ‘Burnley’ and ‘automatic promotion’ in the same sentence. But, although not quite winner-takes-all, a Burnley victory against County will tighten our grip on second place.
It’s at the point where a victory against Derby is more important than a victory against Blackburn.
And it’s surreal that I’m even typing that.
It doesn’t mean I and every Burnley fan don’t want this 34 year hoodoo to end.
It doesn’t mean I won’t be there at Ewood, biting my nails and praying and hoping and…
It doesn’t mean that I’m covering our backs with an “It doesn’t matter that we’ve lost” prepared for March 10th.
Because the East Lancashire derby is monumental. Nothing will change that, ever.
It’s just interesting to note that victory in the Derby game a week before will have more of an effect on our very touchable promotion hopes.
And that’s testament to Sean Dyche, the board and the players because in any other season, a victory against Rovers would be absolutely everything.
This season, it’ll be the cherry on top of a cake.
Our derby day film We Are These People, written by Thomas, will premiere this weekend.