2nd - 8th Oct 06
Things are looking up now for us as we bagged our third and successive win of the season. Was a rocky start against Wigan yesterday after conceding an early goal, but the 2-1 victory could have been bigger by the final whistle.
Craig who? That is what some people must be thinking after Benni McCarthy scored his fifth goal in eight games. Hughes has said that this strike rate is better than Bellamy and the rest of the team last season and is right in thinking that his strike rate is a great return, especially as he only cost £2.5 million from the quality team Porto. So far he has cost us only £500, 000 a goal, think how much this will be at the end of the season. Put it another way, £4m less than what they sold Bellamy for and a better strike rate than he achieved this time last year and doing far better than he is at Liverpool.
Bring a fully fit Jason Roberts into the equation, who I`m surprised cost more than Benni but never the less a good player and the pairing cost no more than what we got for Bellamy. You`ve also got Franny on a free and Nonda who is another proven quality player on loan.
It is now international duty break time. The longest trip is for our Aussie boys Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton in Asian Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Bahrain. Aaron Mokoena will feature for South Africa against Zambia for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Andre Ooijer will represent Holland in their Euro 2008 qualifier`s against Bulgaria and Albania and Gamst Pedersen will represent Norway in Greece and maybe we`ll see another Gamst international scorching strike. Zurab Khizanishvili will be representing Georgia in a qualifier against Italy, but before this match Georgia will be playing Germany in a friendly. Finally, fellow Rovers player Peter Enckelman is involved for Finland and current penalty saving hero Jason Brown for Wales. Click Here for Full ArticleHughes` number two Mark Bowen is again being linked with vacant managerial jobs. He is amongst a group being considered for the Norwich job and was popular during his time there as a player. He is also being linked with the Leeds United job. Obviously we would want to keep him as he doing a great job, yet I am guessing it is only a matter of time before he will want to be a boss. Click Here for Full Article
Good news for us is that after the international break Brad Friedel should be back to start against former club Liverpool. They will meet in a fortnight and although good for the club, to an extent it will be a little disappointing for Jason Brown, especially after his fine substitution debut for us. It isn`t everyday that you make a debut off the bench and make a triple save from a penalty kick. I am sure that Brown will get his chance and he is still a young player, especially for a goalkeeper.
Tuesday 3rd October 06
It is good to see that Ryan Nelsen is healing well from his operation in Finland and it is interesting that he has shed light upon the procedure. His hamstring muscle had turned to fat and lowered in position. At least it is now back into place after having the holes drilled into his backside as he said and then having the hamstring pulled back up, anchored and tied into place. We wish you a speedy recovery and hope you get back soon.I have a good feeling about this year in the UEFA Cup. I know you`ve got to with being a fan and all that, but I think we could go far even if we don`t win it. Benni McCarthy has spoken of his 'wish list` of teams that he would like to face in the group stages. These included his former employees Celta Vigo who he would prefer to play than Ajax. This is because he feels that Celta Vigo are a little more predictable and would be a little easier - not that any game will be easy. Click Here for Full Article
The draw has been made and we have been drawn in Group E with Feyenoord, Basel, Wisla Krakow and Nancy. Feyenoord coach Erwin Koeman thinks that Brett Emerton`s return to his former club will lend a special edge to the UEFA Cup tie. The match will take place at the De Kuip in Rotterdam Holland on November 23rd. Feyenoord won the UEFA Cup whilst Emerton was there featuring as a key player in 2002, but he did not participate in the final due to suspension. Click Here for Full Article
Wednesday 4th October 06
Chairman John Williams is pleased with the UEFA draw and believes that it has worked out well for us. The toughest challenge for us will no doubt be away to Feyenoord and Polish side Wisla Krakow but with three out of the five going through, things are looking very promising. He says that we haven`t had the best of records in the past but want to put that right.Hughes is also pleased with the group as the team have managed to avoid long distance trips to far away places which is handy when it comes to league games which are so close together. He is putting Europe as major priority ahead of the league. Obviously he wants to do well but as they have worked so hard to get there, they want to do the best they can whilst they can.
Although I am positive of a good run, it might take more than that for us to keep Lucas Neill as a player. It is known that he was disappointed about his deadline day move to Liverpool not going through, but the club are hoping a good European run could tempt Neill to have a change of heart. Brad Friedel is even keeping his fingers crossed and thinks it is extremely important that he is kept and that he will be really hard to replace. I can not remember a time where I can fault him for lack of effort and he has been a key player for us during his time here. Click Here for Full Article
Andre Ooijer has come along quite well since his debut. I don`t think he was as bad as people made out, despite his important mistakes that shadowed the rest of his performance. He is playing well now and quite demanding in defence. He has spoken of his departure from PSV Eindhoven and feels he was forced out. He says that he could have possibly still been at PSV had it not been for a proposed three year contract being withdrawn earlier in the year. This caused communication to break down and him obviously coming to us. Click Here for Full ArticleI love it. You think that the free season ticket entry for season holders and reduced entry for the home UEFA Cup match against Salzburg is a one off, and then they announce the Carling Cup third round clash against Chelsea will have reduced tickets and I thought perhaps maybe they will do it again some time perhaps if we progress past group stages in Europe. Now today they have announced they will reduce tickets for our clash against local rivals Bolton on 22nd of this month. This is due to feedback from the fans saying they would more likely go to a match rather than watch it on TV if prices want so high. Officials have noticed that due to Rovers doing well and progressing to the group stages, fans find it expensive so for home and away fans tickets will be £15 and £5 for senior citizens and children. It has been recorded that our highest ever home attendance came in this fixture with Bolton in 1929 with a record 62,522. How good would it be to get attendances like this behind our boys again, after all, we are the twelfth player aren`t we? Chairman John Williams is hoping both home and away stands will be packed, especially as we are both doing well in the league at the moment. Click Here for Full Article
Thursday 5th October 06
The main talk of today is of Mark Bowen again and his link to the vacant managerial post at Norwich. Bowen has been working under fellow Welshman Hughes as his number for over two years now and if he was to spread his wings and go solo as you could say then it would be his first full managerial job. Bowen has yet to comment and I am sure he is very tempted due to his connection as a former player, but Williams has refused to comment. Another former Canary legend Ian Crook who is coaching in Australia is also being linked with his old pal Bowen in what is thought to be a possible dream team partnership managing in Norfolk.Other than this, all other Blackburn talk and happenings is about pretty much old news about Bowen and Ooijer and no point in reflecting on what`s already been thought/commented about is there.
Friday 6th October 06
I am going to miss us playing this week, but am now looking forward to the England match tomorrow. It`s good to see some of our players go off and represent their countries, but it would be nice to see one of our English chaps pushing for an England place, say Bentley perhaps who is doing well as of late with a couple of goals lately, the Salzburg goal being fantastic.
Our captain Lucas Neill will be captaining his native Australia tomorrow when they take on Paraguay. He considers it a great honour and says he will be fighting hard not to give the armband back. Mark Viduka who was captain during Australia`s World Cup is unavailable through injury, and Craig Moore was set to captain but missed his flight and Wednesday`s training session and is now serving a one-match suspension.Staying on the topic of Lucas Neill, he is insisting that he will be leaving at the earliest opportunity during his last twelve months with us, being it either January or next summer when his contract expires. He is still keen on Liverpool being his priority as he feels no player in his right mind would not want to go to a club of that prestige and history. Although he regrets not getting the chance of a Liverpool move, he holds out hope that he is in just as good a position when the opportunity presents itself again. I feel a little disappointed as obviously we want to keep him being a key player and he has always done well, but I guess on the plus side at least he is not moaning and is getting on with the job in hand like a professional and if he can help us have another successful campaign then I guess that`s better than nothing. It would have been more professional not to have gone into so much public detail though. Click Here for Full Article
Another player who announced his desire to leave us in the near future is Morten Gamst-Pedersen. He was interviewed on Norwegian TV and has hinted to keep an eye on something happening in the January transfer window. Interest from top clubs such as Liverpool and Manchester United are said to be too good an option to turn down and fair enough they might be bigger teams, but a lot is happening for us lately and we are getting the results. We are also a place above Liverpool and only five points from Manchester United. I feel we are heading in the right direction and we are a good club to be at!Former manager of ours Graham Souness is being lined to try his hand once again in management. He is wanted by Greek giants Panathinaikos and they feel he is the ideal candidate to get them back on the right track. He is currently working as a Sky TV pundit and is also being paid by former club Newcastle who sacked him in February until next spring, so I`m sure he`s got a few quid coming in and won`t be short of money. Souness turned the Crystal Palace job down before the World Cup as did not want to disrupt his family. Perhaps this could be the job that could make him a great. Either that or it could be the same old story…starts good and then, well you know the rest. Whatever you do Souness, don`t go pinching our Rovers or decent English/Premier League players and ruining their careers. Click Here for Full Article
Saturday 7th October 06
Shabani Nonda was called to represent Democratic Republic of Congo in the African Nations Cup qualifier in Libya on Sunday, but has withdrawn due to his knee injury that he sustained against Salzburg during our 2-0 UEFA Cup victory. Hopefully he will get over the injury soon as I think he is a useful asset to us and will play a big part in our season. It has been nearly a year now since he represented his country for nearly a year now. Click Here for Full ArticleSurprise surprise, more talk about Lucas Neill and the will he won`t he stay at Rovers saga. Apparently they are still hoping to hang on to him despite what he has said about making this his last season. John Williams has said that he was due to meet Neill when he returns next week from international duty and discuss the future, hoping that he will change his mind and stay. He spoke with Neill after the game about sorting something and Neill agreed. It is thought that although he would like to play for Liverpool, his preferred destination would be Spain. I am starting to wonder if it could perhaps partly be to do with money as he says that money is not the issue and he wants a new challenge. He could however be playing hard ball and holding out for big dollars as the Aussies would say. If so then very clever as he knows he is in the driving seat. I`m not saying that it is this, just a thought that crossed my mind but what would I know hey!
Sunday 8th October 06
Another day and even more of a surprise…more Lucas Neill talk, but this time it is a little bit of a surprise as this link is to West Ham. I would be shocked if he did go there as he has talked about wanting to better himself and further his career and no disrespect to West Ham as I think they are a decent team, but I wouldn`t think a move South is a step up and I would be disappointed in him going there. It is being reported that Alan Pardew is willing to match what Liverpool will pay for Neill.