While reigning champions City will kick-off 2022 encouragingly poised in third place in the table, lying just four points off leaders West Ham, it’s been a tough first half of the campaign for Rovers.
The Lancashire side currently prop up the table, with City having recorded a 4-2 win over Rovers at the start of the season.
For his part however, EDS head coach Barry-Murphy insists he and his players are prepared for a tough, demanding challenge when we resume action at Brockhall (1pm).
But refreshed after a three-week hiatus over the festive season, the head coach is also looking for his players to hit the ground running and start as they mean to go on.
“I think we’ll be looking to be at our best. We understand the players are coming back from a break,” the EDS boss declared.
“Our players will be ready. They look in good shape. We will be looking for a very expressive performance, very energetic and showing we are in a good physical condition after the break.
“(As for Blackburn) They may be where they are in the table, but we know they will be a very tough opponent.
“We were lucky to beat Blackburn in the first game as we didn’t play particularly well.
“I have seen their previous games. They are very good team. The table can be difficult in Premier League 2 because the nature of the teams and what the squad looks like varies from week to week.
“It can be dangerous to read into where a certain team is in the able and what you expect the result to be.
“We have shown that ourselves this season with the different nature of what our team can look like.
“The challenge is to raise the level of performance so high that those players feel as though they have to perform, progress and keep pushing and improving all the time to firstly play and secondly to become the best version of themselves that they can be."
Looking ahead to the second half of the season, Barry-Murphy spelled out the aims and ambitions he had for the squad looking to the next few months.
And the head coach also pointed to the encouraging ay our EDS side had finished the year as another positive template looking towards our progress in 2022.
“I think it’s very competitive and that is what you want in any environment,” said Barry-Murphy.
“We obviously have players coming back who have been missed and they were pretty significant injuries.
“The competition for places in the group has been enhanced by the younger players from the Under-18s making such a good impression.
“The way we finished December was pretty significant for me in terms of how the group has evolved over the first half of the season.
“It’s a different landscape now, we have players coming back to fitness and it’s hard to tell how that will impact the team.
"But I was very pleased with how we finished off what had been a pretty intense few months.
“I think it gives everyone a sense of renewed energy in terms of what we want to do in the second half of the season.”