Date:Friday February 1 2008
Blackburn Rovers chairman John Williams has urged supporters to keep the faith in the battle to secure a top-six finish.
While the rest of Rovers' rivals in the scramble to qualify for Europe were busy rushing around trying to sign who they could before last night's deadline, there was no late flurry of incoming transfer activity at Ewood Park, as manager Mark Hughes decided instead to keep a lid on it until the summer.
But while some supporters (and many on Vital Blackburn) may be frustrated by the lack of new arrivals, Williams believes Rovers have the strength in depth to mount a sustained charge for a UEFA Cup spot after the club successfully fended off enquiries for five of their leading players during the window, including leading scorer Roque Santa Cruz and England's David Bentley.
Williams told the Lancashire Telegraph: 'We had enquiries about five of our players and we could have been incredibly busy during the window by trading players.
'But that's not what we wanted to do. Mark has great faith in this squad and that's why we rejected all the enquiries we had.
'We could have sold four or five of our players and brought in another five or six, but that's not the direction in which we want to go.
'We want to keep the players we have and add to what we've got if possible, but the targets we had weren't available in the window.
'Several other things were put to us but they weren't going to make any difference so, in the end, we decided to keep our powder dry until the summer.'
Rovers did make firm enquiries about a long-term midfield target (believed to be Wigan's Jason Koumas) and a striker (at a guess Theo Walcott) but the clubs involved were unwilling to let either player go in January, so Hughes may now resurrect deals for both in the summer instead.
Right now, though, the focus remains firmly on trying to qualify for Europe for a third successive season, and with only five points separating Rovers and fourth-placed Everton, who they face at Ewood tomorrow, Hughes' side are still firmly in the running.
'We've got 14 games to go and if we have a bit of luck with injuries then we believe we've got a great chance,' said Williams.
I know some guys on here are not happy that we didn't sign anyone during January but lets keep the faith guys. We have a cracking first XI and some very good back up players. We're as good as anyone on our day.
Date:Friday February 1 2008
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