Pearson: Leaving Blackburn Rovers was probably the best thing for my career
Although he didn’t think it at the time, opting to leave Premier League Blackburn Rovers and drop down the divisions has proved the best thing that could have happened for Town defender Matty Pearson.
The no-nonsense centre half came through the youth ranks at Ewood Park and was on the fringes of the first team squad when Sam Allardyce was in charge between 2008-10.
However his departure saw Steve Keen take over and Pearson’s hopes of a chance with Rovers dissipate, so much so that he went on loan to Lincoln and then headed to Rochdale in July 2012 following his release.
On his exit from the club, Pearson said: “Sam Allardyce was the manager and then there was all the things, they had a bit of a sticky patch (with owners the Venky’s), he left and then Steve Kean took over.
“I don’t think I even existed when he was there, so that’s how it finished.
“It probably was the best thing for me to get out of there and go play Conference and Conference North football, it worked for me.
“I was in the youth team, got promoted from the youth team to the reserves pretty quickly but then I just played reserve football for two or three years and didn’t really progress from there.
“I had the odd injury and then my progression just came to a standstill.
“At the time I didn’t think it was, but looking back now it was the right decision to get out and get playing.
“It’s done me the world of good, leaving when I was a young age and going to play first team football.
“I’ve never played against them since, so it will be the first time going back.
“It’s a long time ago now, six or seven years, things have changed, I’ve no bitterness or anything, it’s just be nice to go back.”
After moving to Rochdale, Pearson then dropped out of the league to spend two years with Halifax, before moving to Accrington Stanley.
He earned a move to Barnsley, but couldn't force his way in at Oakwell, signing for Luton in the summer of 2018, playing a leading role in the Hatters' promotion back to the Championship last term.
On plying his trade in the same division as his former side, he continued: “A lot has happened since then, so to get back to the level they’re at in itself, I think I’ve done reasonably well to match the same league as them.
“I’m just looking forward to it, really looking forward to it.”
Despite being disappointed at how things ended for himself with the club, Pearson still feels his time there helped make him the player he has become now, with almost 300 professional games under his belt.
He said: “I signed for Blackburn when I was nine years old and then left when I was 18, 19, so I think one or two players are still there.
"There’s been a big change, they’ve had numerous managers since I left, so there’ll be a couple of connections, not much, but it will be nice to go back there and show what I can do and how much I’ve come on since leaving.
“That gives you the learning, from nine years old, all the way through the youth team and then an extra year with the youth team.
"That’s given me the platform for my career, and my time in general there as good, I enjoyed it.
"I met some good people, some good players, it will be nice to go back.”
Rovers have made a decent start to the season too, sitting 10th in the table after eight games with 13 points to their name.
Pearson knows it will difficult to get something from the encounter, but was confident the Hatters could end their run of back-to-back league defeats, adding: "Blackburn are a Premier League team aren’t they, all through me growing up they were always in the Premier League.
"They should be at least looking to get back there, so they’re one of the top teams in our division.
"It will be a tough game for us, we’ll have a game-plan going into the game and go there trying to make them work for a result."