Manager Graham Alexander has previewed the trip to face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Speaking to iFollow Iron, the United boss assessed the challenge ahead at Ewood Park and provided an injury update.

It was one of our better performances of the season so far. We were superb on the night and it was a sore one to take (losing 1-0), but that’s football – they scored and we didn’t. We can take heart from going up against one of the biggest clubs in the division and more than matching them on the night. You have to score goals to win games and that’s the challenge for us on Saturday. They’re on a fantastic run of form, with a team of good players and a good manager, but I also feel we have good players as well and that’s the important thing for me.

It’s been superb from the players because we’ve had tough, different challenges home and away. We’ve scored eight goals in the last three games and earned seven valuable points. It’s been a great return from the players for how they’ve approached the matches and we want to go into the next game feeling the confidence, and follow on from the last two games especially, because I feel we more than deserved the wins. It’s another challenge on Saturday but one we’re looking forward to.

They’re a real good group to work with and know how things should be done. We have staff there that support that and the discipline needed is important at any time of year and not just the Christmas period. If you don’t prepare right, you get beat. You can’t work as hard as our players have worked in the last few games, with limited numbers, without preparing right. The players always work very conscientiously in training and these are the periods where it pays dividends. We keep to the formula which we’ve had success from, and hopefully will continue to. The players know where they stand and what is required, and I think it’s stood us in good stead so far.

Everyone expects Blackburn to be up there competing, which they are. We feel the motivation, ambition and quality we have can match anybody in this division. Over the last 18 months we’ve proved that and we’ll have to continue to do that. We haven’t achieved anything yet, but we’re in a good solid position to challenge during the second-half of the season. It’s going to take as much of an effort if not more to better it. The motivation going into it from both sets of players will be really high. Both know fully well where the opposition is (in the table). It’s another match for us but we see every game as a challenge no matter who the opposition is, and keep the main focus on us and how we can perform. That consistent mindset is the basis of our work and I believe it brings consistent results.

Luke Williams is joining in training on Thursday, which is a positive, but he’s been out a long, long time so it will take him a good few weeks to get up to speed. There will be no changes to the squad for Saturday at this stage. We’ve been depleted on numbers but the players we have had available have the quality to win games. Sam Mantom has had a little bit of a setback so will be a few weeks yet. Rory McArdle will be next to return to training but that won’t be for a week or so yet. Jordan Clarke and Jonny Margetts will be a while yet. Andrew Crofts picked up an ankle injury against MK Dons and will be out until mid-January.

Christmas is a big outlay for anyone with family and kids, and it’s a sacrifice for anyone to travel and watch us. Hopefully we can reward them like we have done, and I believe that’s where we give our payback. It’s great to see that bond strengthened week-in week-out when we pick up good results. Hopefully we can take good numbers over there (to Blackburn) and send everyone home happy. Winning games makes everyone feel good. There’s always a spring in the step when you win games. Nobody can do that alone – everyone plays a part in those results and, as a club of our size, we need everyone pulling in the same direction to keep up this run of form.

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