Jay Rodriguez looking to score against Seasiders
The 22-year-old Burnley-born striker netted in his two previous Lancashire tussles, scoring the winner against Preston in a 4-3 thriller at Turf Moor a year ago, before hitting the equaliser in a 2-1 win in the return at Deepdale earlier this year.
Now he has the Seasiders in his sights, and he he said: “A local derby is always massive and brings a different atmosphere to the game. It’s something you look forward to playing in.
“But as a team, we approach each game with the same mentality, to win the game and be positive, but with a derby, it’s got that extra edge.
“Blackburn’s obviously the main one, and Preston - they were two great games last year - but every game is the same to us, we’ll go out, work hard and hopefully get the right result.
“Any win is massive for confidence and team spirit, although the team spirit is always there, but getting the three points is the main thing.”
Scoring in a derby is extra special, however, and Rodriguez, with eight goals to his name already this term, would love to push towards double figures against the Tangerines: “It’s always nice to score, but especially in a derby, against Preston, that was a good feeling.
“I particularly enjoyed scoring at Deepdale, the atmosphere was great - the fans were amazing that day.
“It’s just that bit more special to get one in a derby.”
Rodriguez and Charlie Austin have 16 goals between them, and it is emerging into a genuine partnership, with the pair feeding off each other and developing a real understanding: “It’s really good, Chas is doing really well and scoring goals, but it’s nice to work with him, we have a good understanding.
“He’s a good lad, and we get on on and off the pitch.
“We try and gamble off each other really, Chas is really good in the air, and you know you can gamble off him.
“I’d like to score more, but it’s good Chas is scoring, and hopefully we can get more between us.
“I’d like to score more league goals, but I’ll keep trying to work hard and improve my goalscoring.
“This is probably my first partnership as a professional, and I enjoy it.
“We work hard together and seem in tune with each other.
“We try and work together and help each other.
“If you are mates off the pitch I think it helps on the pitch, and we have a good relationship.
“I know Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole hardly spoke and it didn’t stop them being great together, but it helps us.
“We’re both happy for each other to score, but the main thing is the three points.”
Rodriguez was a doubt for Tuesday’s Carling Cup exit at Cardiff after taking an elbow to the nose in setting up the equaliser in the win at Coventry on Saturday, and his face still bears the scars, but he said: “It’s fine, it’s just bruised, and there’s one stitch. It hurt at the time, and I saw the blood everywhere and thought it was broken, but it’s not as bad as I thought.
“I didn’t see the goal as I was on the floor, but it was good to get the goal anyway.
“I don’t mind as long as we score.”
And with two home games in a week, Rodriguez feels it is time to push on towards the top 10: “We feel we are good enough to be up there challenging, we’re being positive and hopefully it will come good for us because we know we have the ability.”