Pune: Close on the heels of the Lionel Messi-led Argentine side's match in Kolkata, English Premier League club Blackburn Rovers will make a maiden appearance in their owner Venkys' backyard as they take on local side Pune FC in an exhibition match on Friday.

Puneites are in for a treat as the likes of New Zealand and Blackburn skipper Ryan Nelsen, former England international David Dunn, multiple Spanish and Champions League titles winner and former Spanish national Michael Salgado, and Nigerian striker Ayegbeni Yakubu will showcase their wares against Arata Izumi and co at the Shiv Chatrapati stadium at Balewadi on Friday.

The match though not as high-profile as the one between Argentina and Venezuela at the Salt Lake stadium last month, will nevertheless be important for both the teams.

The visitors are having a torrid time of late as they are languishing in the relegation zone in the English Premier League, having won just one match of their first seven ties.

This has ruffled the fans as the team had barely managed to save itself from relegation last season, and calls for the head of coach Steve Kean have got momentum.

Though a win here may not silence their vexed supporters, anything less than it will give the voices a new reason to dissent.

Meanwhile, for Pune FC, who begin as underdogs, the match is a great opportunity to show that irrespective of its failure to reach the knockout stages of the recently concluded Federation Cup, its steady improvement since promotion to the I-league, including a third place finish last year, was not a fluke.

While a victory would surely surprise the team itself, a spirited performance against a technically superior side will give the hosts great confidence ahead of the new I-League season commencing later this month.