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Football | English Championship

Michael Appleton © Action Images

Rovers held hours after hiring Appleton



Blackburn were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Wolves on Friday as the Indian-owned Championship club prepared for life under new manager Michael Appleton.

Appleton was confirmed as Blackburn's third boss of a troubled season just hours before kick-off, but the 37-year-old didn't make the trip to Molineux to see his new second-tier team in action.

If Appleton watched the televised fixture from home, he will have seen Scotland striker Jordan Rhodes give Rovers the lead with a first half penalty.

But their hopes of a fourth successive victory under caretaker boss Gary Bowyer were dashed as Wolves, playing for the first time under their new manager Dean Saunders, hit back to equalise after the interval through Roger Johnson.

Appleton has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract to replace Henning Berg at Ewood Park after the former Manchester United defender was sacked just 57 days into his reign.

Berg had replaced Steve Kean, who quit the club claiming his position was untenable due to interference from Venky's, the Indian poultry firm who own Blacvburn.

Appleton, a former Manchester United trainee, could be the ideal man for Blackburn as he is no stranger to managerial chaos himself, having quit Blackpool to join Rovers just two months after arriving at Bloomfield Road from crisis club Portsmouth.

His team competed gamely enough against Wolves, who were fired up to impress former Liverpool striker Saunders following his arrival from Doncaster earlier in the week to replace the sacked Stale Solbakken.

Wolves, knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Luton last weekend, threatened when Kevin Foley's flicked effort forced a fine save from Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean.

Yet it was Blackburn who took the lead in the 26th minute. Ruben Rochina tricked his way into the penalty area and Bakary Sako tried to halt his run with a rash challenge that referee Dean Whitestone ruled was worthy of a penalty.

Rhodes fired home the spot-kick and Blackburn went close to a second goal when Rochina tested Wolves goalkeeper Carl Ikeme from 20 yards.

But Saunders introduced Jamie O'Hara in the 73rd minute and the former Tottenham midfielder made an instant impact, swinging the ball in from the left with his first touch for Johnson to head in the 74th minute equaliser.

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