Big-match build-up: Chris Brown interview

Chris Brown helps Billy Paynter celebrate his goal against Leeds.
Chris Brown helps Billy Paynter celebrate his goal against Leeds.

If anyone has earned a bit of luck this season, for sheer hard graft, it’s Chris Brown.

The workhorse striker has been a tower of strength up top for Rovers so far, and his relentless work rate has not gone unnoticed by his manager, colleagues and supporters.

So having scored twice at the Valley, with his side leading 3-1, Brown had more reason than most to be more than a bit miffed at Saturday’s untimely wash-out.

“Aye, just my luck,” said Brown, on a momentary downer before training yesterday.

But you won’t keep the former Sunderland, Norwich and Preston target man down for long - because he’s simply loving life back at his hometown club.

The fact that he is working so hard for the cause, buying fully into the manager’s pressing game-plan, is hardly surprising.

For a player who has spent long spells of his career on the sidelines, Brown is relishing his run in the team and the faith that Dickov has shown in him.

He’s rarely felt better, he’s immediately clicked with new strike partner Theo Robinson, and he’s determined to make the most of it.

Now, with a bit of luck thrown in for good measure, it might just rain goals instead - starting with tomorrow’s visit of Bournemouth.

“It just comes with having fitness and a full pre-season under your belt,” said the 28-year-old, reflecting on his modern day impression of the daysgone by he would bomb round Belle Vue closing down defenders.

“It’s part of the job I enjoy.

“I’ve got to do it - otherwise I wouldn’t be in the team.

“The manager’s said if you work hard and give everything you’ve got then you won’t have a problem.

“Everyone’s working hard, so that seems to be having an effect.

“If you look at the best teams in the world they all do it, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t.

“It starts from the top as well.

“If you’re playing up there and working hard then the lads behind you they’ve got to do the same.”

To the naked eye, Brown’s physique has improved considerably over the last year.

He’s always been a big lad, but he now appears to be stronger than ever, helping him win more headers and knock-downs.

So what’s the secret to his training routine?

“I’m not doing anything differently,” he said.

“It’s just a matter of staying fit for me.

“I’ve had injuries in the past but I feel really good at the moment.

“I’m recovering after games better than I have done in the past. I’m looking forward to games more and I’m feeling better at the back end of games.

“In the past I’ve struggled with stiffness but that’s not been a problem.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Ben [Rome - fitness coach],” he added.

“Ben knows exactly what I need to do and just lets me get on with it.

“Anything he can help with, in terms of nutrition or in the gym, he’s always first to point it out. He’s been brilliant to work with.

“Staying fit is the main thing for me. I’m really enjoying it at the moment and the next game can’t come quickly enough.”

Brown and Robinson clicked instantly against Blackburn - but the Doncaster-born was also keen to pay tribute to Billy Paynter, who came off the bench to score against Leeds on Tuesday.

“I’m not sure why [it’s worked so well with Theo]. But if I win a header he always seems to get on the end of it.

“It’s not rocket science really. Theo works hard for the team as well.

“Billy came on the other night and was outstanding too, and he got a great goal.

“If you put the ball in the box Billy will get on the end of it. He’s a proven goalscorer.

“I think we’ve got a lot of strength up there now.”

Brown is equally positive about the start Rovers have made to life back in the Championship.

But he wants to see an improvement this weekend, after standards slipped against Leeds - and promised that Rovers would be at it from the word go against the Cherries.

“I think as a team we’ve started well,” he said.

“The lads are looking fit and everyone’s taking on board what the management are after, in terms of with and without the ball.

“As a starting point, we’re trying to stop teams playing.

“We seem to have got off to a good start in every game and that sets the tone.

“We did it the other night against Leeds but we didn’t score and that probably cost us in the end.

“As a whole everyone’s pretty positive.

“Bournemouth this weekend are obviously a threat,” he added, looking ahead to tomorrow’s game.

“They’ve had some great results at home but their away form has been indifferent.

“We’ve proven by going to Wigan, one of the favourites for promotion, and more than matching them that we’re capable of doing well in this division.

“It’s down to us.

“We were a little bit sloppy the other night and I know we can do better.

“Saturday’s a different game.

“We’re at home again and we’re going to take it to them.”