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2005 - 2014: Cup semi-finals, European adventures, but league disappointment

6 May 2014

2005-06 saw Rovers maintain their fine form in cup competitions with a run to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.

2005-06 saw Rovers maintain their fine form in cup competitions with a run to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.

After defeating Huddersfield Town, Leeds United, Charlton Athletic and Middlesbrough on their way to the last four of the competition, they were eventually knocked out by Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate over two legs.

On the league front a strong spell of results over the Christmas period saw Rovers move steadily up the table, summer signing Craig Bellamy making his mark in front of goal.

With an eye on a place in Europe, Rovers ended the campaign well, and a 1-0 home win over Chelsea in the penultimate game of the season ensured a top-six finish for Mark Hughes' side.

Steven Reid scores against Manchester United in the Carling Cup semi-final

Rovers were slow starters on the league front at the beginning of the 2006-07 season, the better results coming on the European stage.

After defeating Red Bull Salzburg 4-2 on aggregate in the opening round, Rovers progressed through the group stage unbeaten thanks to wins over Wisla Krakow, Basel, and AS Nancy and an away draw at Feyenoord.

Those UEFA Cup results helped with the league form as they slowly climbed the table, again the Christmas and New Year period proved vital as Rovers pulled away from the sides at the bottom of the table.

February saw their Euro adventure end at the hands of Bayer Leverkusen. After losing the first leg in Germany 3-2, they were unable to get the key goal in the 2nd leg at Ewood as the match finished 0-0.

Despite that disappointment, Rovers also had their attentions on another cup competition - The FA Cup. Impressive wins over Everton and Arsenal suddenly saw them in the semi-finals and a Old Trafford match-up with Chelsea.

Frank Lampard gave Chelsea an early lead but a first Rovers goal for Jason Roberts saw them draw level.

Rovers had opportunties to win the match in 90 minutes, but it was German international Michael Ballack who denied them a final appearance with a winner 11 minutes from time.

With Benni McCarthy finding the back of the net with regularity, Rovers ended the season unbeaten, their 10th place finish enough to see them back in Europe via the much-maligned Intertoto Cup.

Tugay celebrates his goal against Basel in the UEFA Cup

2007/08 saw their campaign get underway in the middle of July as they resumed their Euro adventures. Victorious trips to Lithuania and Finland saw Mark Hughes' side reach the UEFA Cup, but they were surprisingly defeated over two legs by Greek outfit Larissa.

A steady season in the league saw Rovers maintain their top ten position throughout the campaign, but they failed to reach a coveted top-six place - and UEFA qualification - on the final day of the season.

That summer saw Mark Hughes leave his position as manager to take up the top position at Manchester City. Rovers replacing the Welshman with former England international Paul Ince.

His tenure started off well with five wins in the first eight games, but a run of just one victory in the following 13 matches saw Ince relieved of his duties following a 3-0 away loss at Wigan in December 2007.

With Rovers at the foot of the table, Sam Allardyce was brought in to rescue the situation and with a run of just one loss in the following 11 games, the former Bolton man steered the Blue and Whites to relative safety.

Allardyce's first full season in charge saw them finish a very respectable 10th place in the league as the cups once again took centre stage.

It was a season when Rovers met Aston Villa no fewer than five times as the Birmingham club knocked Rovers out of the FA Cup and then at the semi-final stage of the Carling Cup 7-4 on aggregate after two sensational cup ties.

The following campaign saw Rovers change ownership with Indian conglomerate Venky's taking over the club.

The new owners decided on a new manager with Sam Allardyce replaced by Steve Kean who had been first team coach at Ewood.

However, as the season wore on a run of games without a win saw Rovers slip closer to the relegation places, but a point against Manchester United at Ewood Park on the penultimate weekend saw Rovers all but assured of their place in the Premier League, which was confirmed on the final day with a win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Rovers were back at Molineux for the opening day of the 2011-12 season, but suffered a 2-1 away loss to set the tone for the campaign.

The opening half of the season saw Rovers win just three times as the team struggled at the wrong end of the table.

Rovers improved as the season progressed but they had left themselves with too much to do. A 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Wigan Athletic saw fears realised as they were relegated to the Championship for the first time in ten years.

Life in the new division started well. With record signing Jordan Rhodes firing in the goals, Rovers were amongst the early runners at the top of the table.

However on the eve of their away game against Charlton Athletic at the end of September, manager Steve Kean announced he was resigning from the football club.

Assistant boss Eric Black stood in as caretaker manager until former title-winner Henning Berg was confirmed as the new manager at the beginning of November.

But aside from a 4-1 away win at Peterborough United, results under the Norwegian were not what was required and he was relieved of his duties following an away loss at Middlesbrough on Boxing Day. Reserve-team boss Gary Bowyer given the task of taking charge.

Bowyer won three and drew one of his four games in temporary charge before former Blackpool boss Michael Appleton was appointed as manager.

But aside from an impressive 1-0 win over Arsenal in the FA Cup, results in the league didn't follow suit as they slipped down the table. Not long after Millwall knocked Rovers out of the competition at the quarter-final stage Appleton soon followed out of the door.

Bowyer was again handed the reins, his task to ensure the team retained their Championship status. He steadied the ship with one defeat in Rovers' final six games to keep their place in the second tier of English football.

After the scare of 2012-13, stability was very much the watch-word for the following season.

Handed the job on a permanent basis, Gary Bowyer went about rebuilding a squad more suited to life in the division with a host of new arrivals and departures.

After a steady first half of the campaign in which Rovers were hovering around the top ten, it wasn't until the final three months of the season that they started to hit their stride.

Rovers ended the campaign 12-matches unbeaten and although they challenged late on for a top-six finish, the season probably ended just a match too soon as they missed out by just two points.

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