BLACKBURN – Blackburn's Indian owners will be urged to fire manager Steve Kean when a section of the club's fans go on a protest march before Saturday's Premier League match against Arsenal.
The northwest team is bottom of the table with just one point from its first four matches, increasing the pressure on Kean, who replaced Sam Allardyce as manager in December.
Venky's, the Indian poultry giant that paid 23 million pounds (then $36.8 million) for a 99.9 percent stake in Blackburn in November, has encouraged supporters to get behind Kean and his team ''to help the players to renew the confidence in themselves.''
However, organizers of the march, expected to involve around 1,000 fans, say there will be a ''peaceful and professional protest'' to call for a change of manager.
Kean believes the protest won't affect his players' performance against Arsenal.
''Probably the opposite,'' Kean said Friday. ''I think they'll want to show the fans that they're together and how much we're all behind each other and wanting to get points on the board.''
Kean has retained the backing of the board, which handed the Scottish coach a 2 1/2-year contract in January but then saw the team narrowly avoid relegation on the final day of last season.
The 1-1 draw at Fulham on Sunday ended a run of three straight defeats but failed to satisfy supporters, prompting Venky's to issue a statement on Wednesday appealing to fans to ''cheer the team more vigorously than ever.''
''On behalf of Venky's, we would like to reassure the fans that we are fully aware of our responsibilities towards them, and the club and to football,'' the statement said.
''We are fully committed to making sure that the team's performance improves.''
Blackburn will come up against an Arsenal side which is slowly recovering from a disappointing start to the season. Arsene Wenger's team beat Swansea 1-0 last weekend for its first Premier League win and then held German champion Borussia Dortmund to a 1-1 draw in its opening Champions League group game.
''When you win everything changes, the mood changes. We need to win,'' Blackburn defender Christopher Samba said. ''When it comes it will be a big relief for all of us - fans, management, everybody.
''We are all together in the same bag so we need to stick together. They should come and be with us rather than against us.''
Bankrolled by local steel magnate Jack Walker, Blackburn won the Premier League in 1995 but has battled against relegation in recent seasons.