Nelsen upbeat about 'crazy' Prem
Rovers have spent most of the season so far in the bottom half but such is the congested nature of the table that a decent run could radically alter their outlook. Nelsen, Rovers' inspirational New Zealand defender, has been surprised by the closeness between all the teams and hopes the Ewood Park outfit can take advantage. The experienced 33-year-old said: "It is the most crazy season since I've been here. Generally the league sorts itself out by about 15 games but I think it might take 25 games before that happens now. "With the big teams not firing as much as they would like and the smaller teams firing, it has squashed everyone up. "One win puts you in Europe and one loss can put you right down there. It is a fascinating league at the moment. "It is fairly early to say where might finish, we've got a couple of difficult games and then we have got a good seam which will pretty much determine how our season will end up." Nelsen is anxious for Rovers to avoid slipping downwards, but the next week is a taxing one for Sam Allardyce's men. Rovers - taken over by Indian firm Venky's on Friday - host Villa on Sunday before travelling to Manchester United six days later. They should at least know what to expect from Villa having already faced the midlanders five times in 2010. Nelsen said: "They are an extremely good side. It's about the 42nd time we have played them this year! "I have a lot of respect for them, they have a very solid back line, a great goalkeeper and some really dangerous players. "They've got some injuries at the moment but they have got a very good squad and some very talented players." It has been a remarkable year for Nelsen, who captained New Zealand during their superb World Cup campaign in the summer. The All Whites failed to progress to the second round in South Africa but went unbeaten throughout the group phase and claimed an eye-catching draw against Italy. Their performances have transformed the image of the sport in rugby-dominated New Zealand and Nelsen is now a big star in his homeland. "It's been incredible," he said. "I used to really enjoy going home because I could walk around and no-one would know who I was! "It's completely changed now. All circles of society know everything about you. "It just shows the exposure the team got and I think we gave the country a bit of pride." International fixtures have been a thorny subject for club managers this week with many countries calling up players for friendlies. Liverpool have been particularly frustrated having lost Steven Gerrard for up to a month with an injury picked up playing for England. Blackburn have also suffered with in-form midfielder Brett Emerton returning from Australia's match in Egypt with a hamstring problem. Rovers boss Sam Allardyce branded the midweek fixtures "meaningless" while other managers have expressed concern about the distances travelled by players. Nelsen, however, believes clubs have to accept the situation. Nelsen is fresh having not played for New Zealand this week but he is well qualified to speak as a frequent long-distance traveller. He said: "When I last went back to New Zealand I did my quad and missed two games. Now Brett's done it going to Egypt. "Steven had to go a long way to London! "Generally New Zealand players have to travel long distances, so when I hear about English players moaning about having to go to Germany, I don't really have much sympathy. "But generally those players do play in Europe, Wednesday-Saturday every week, then when they get a week off they have to play an international friendly. "It's just so taxing and it's only a matter of time before something breaks. "But we've all been doing this for years and we've just got to live with it. It's life."