DAVE Jones is trusting Chris Kirkland not to start looking over his shoulder after the unpleasant shock of the attack on him by a fan.
The Wednesday manager is confident than the ex-England keeper is focused on the task in front of him.
At first Jones joked yesterday that Kirkland would be wearing mirrors on his shoulders - his assailant came from behind the goal at Hillsborough.
But, also knowing that the incident spotlighted the serious issue of players’ security, Jones expects his keeper to thrust Friday’s incident to the back of his mind with typical professionalism and concentrate on what is happening on the pitch in front of him.
“He knows he has to get on with it,” said Jones. “It was just the shock of it, the unexpected.
“If anything it’s made him determined that he’s not going to be affected by it.
“If you fall off a horse, you get back on to it, that’s what they tell you. He won’t use it as an excuse. He knows it’s done and dusted, and moving on is the best thing to do.
“If he did let it affect him, he’d have let that person win.”
Jones looks set to name an unchanged side if Jay Bothroyd, who starred against Leeds, is well: he has been feeling ill and undergoing tests on a stomach problem.
Rhys McCabe will not be ready until Saturday’s game against Ipswich, at the earliest, because of his thigh niggle, so Paul Corry looks sure to play again after his fine League debut, in which he lived up his manager’s billing as an outstanding young prosoect.
Jones enthuses: “For Paul to play like that in such a high-tempo game, a derby game, shows that we are on the right lines.
“As soon as the injury occurrred to Rhys, he was going to be the next one in, because we had so much confidence in him.
“He has come on strongly in the short space of time he has been here.
The more he plays and trains, the more we’ll get out of him in games. Now he’s got to go on to the next game and so on, and get that battle-hardness you need at this level.”
“He’s just come out of university football and the Irish league. It’s a massive leap. On Friday he showed the ability that he’s shown since he joined us.”
Jones is equally enthusiastic about Corry’s midfield partner, Ross Barkley, and knowing that Everton can recall him from his loan at short notice, says: “We have to hope that Everton don’t pick up anything that makes them recall him.
“He’s a young player who’s getting better and better and stronger and stronger, the more games he plays.”
Jones rates Blackburn as a “superb club” who will feel under pressure to win promotion.
“We made an established Championship side, Leeds, look ordinary at times; it was a very strong performance by us,” he says. “We now have to take that into the next game.
“There were a lot of good things about the performance against Leeds - we just couldn’t get the second goal to kill the game.
“But it’s starting to turn, Hopefully the fans can see that.
“We have to keep our confidence and form and keep plugging away.
“Two or three wins in this crazy division can propel you to where you want to be.”
Teams and ref
BLACKBURN (possible): Robinson, Orr, Dann, Givet, Olsson, Kazim-Richards, Dunn, Lowe, Etuhu, Pedersen, Rhodes. (4-4-2).
Owls (possible): Kirkland, Buxton, Llera, Gardner, Jones, Semedo, Bothroyd, Barkley, Corry, Antonio, O’Grady. (4-1-4-1).
Phillip gibbs (West Midlands): A teacher by trade, he has refereed in all three divisions of the Football League and the Capital One Cup this season. In 11 matches he has shown 27 yellow cards and one red, and he refereed Coventry’s 2-1 win at Notts County last Saturday.