Win over Pompey is start of big run for Big Sam
Sam Allardyce is ready to launch his Blackburn side into a "mammoth'' period after a pair of inspired substitutions led to a 3-1 victory over Portsmouth which the Rovers boss called their biggest win of the season so far.
Jason Roberts' second-half double sandwiched a rare goal from captain Ryan Nelsen as Rovers bounced back from Jamie O'Hara's shock early opener to finally clamber out of the relegation zone.
And Allardyce admitted he is now relishing the prospect of the international break before his side embark on "phase two'' of their season with a bid to move all the way up to European contention.
Allardyce said: "I've been fighting ever since I've been here. It was a hugely difficult start for us and we've been battling away all season. We need that extra six or seven days of breathing space.
"Now we're in phase two - we've played the first game of phase two and we've got three points on the board and it's taken us out of the bottom three.
"We can have a good few days getting ready for the November, December, January spell because it could be a mammoth game scenario for us, especially if we get through to the semis of the Carling Cup.''
"We all knew what a big game it was because if Portsmouth won we could have gone bottom. It put immense pressure on us, it was our biggest game this season, but in the end we came through with flying colours.''