Rovers to unleash international attack on new Town defence
Ipswich v Blackburn: Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith – Town’s new central defensive partnership – will face a baptism of fire at Portman Road tomorrow as they come up against one of the most internationally experienced front-lines to have played in the Championship.
Blackburn are expected to be lead by the attacking duo of Nuno Gomes and Colin Kazim-Richards – two forwards who have a total of 114 international caps between them.
Gomes has represented Portugal in two World Cups and three European Championships, being an integral part of the Portugal side that reached the final of Euro 2004.
London-born Kazim-Richards has 35 caps for Turkey, qualifying through his Turkish mother, and was part of the side that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2008.
Kazim-Richards had spells with Brighton and Sheffield United before spending the last five seasons playing abroad.
Having moved from Fenerbahce to Galatasaray two years ago, he helped Olympiakos to the league and cup double while on loan last season – while also picking up a league winner’s medal at parent club in the same season.
Kazim-Richards, who joined Blackburn on a season-long loan last week, said: “Things have never come easy to me, I’ve had to work through whatever level I’ve been at.
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“I love challenges and this is a realistic one. Getting promotion to the Premier League would be unbelievable.”
After a career spanning 18 years, Nuno Gomes has even more impressive credentials – the Portuguese striker has scored 197 career goals, representing the likes of Fiorentina and Boavista as well as racking up 293 appearances for Portuguese heavyweights Benfica.
Now 36, Gomes had the opportunity to wind down his career in a glittering location with offers from the MLS, Qatar, Australia and the Far East following his release from Braga at the end of last season.
But Gomes said he had chosen to come to England to experience “the proper game.”
And his manager Steve Kean said: “Not only is Nuno a proven, top international striker, with a great pedigree and hugely impressive scoring record, but he is also renowned for being one of the top providers of assists at every club he has played for.”