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6th-12th November 06

6th-12th November 06
Monday 6th November 06
No doubt it has been busy times the last few months with a mixture of league games, UEFA Cup during midweek`s and Carling Cup which was only a one off as we went out in our first match to the mighty Chelsea which is nothing to be ashamed of. With theses additional matches it has perhaps been a little more challenging at times but there are no question marks over our current European performances and hopefully we can carry on with the same mentality.

I think Hughes has done a good job with balancing league with UEFA despite the recent three league losses; after all it is football and these things happen and most teams tend to get a run of results against them. There is no surprise that Hughes has said he is grateful for the free week after the schedule we have had. It has been just over three weeks since the last international break and during this short period we have played seven matches and Hughes feels that this is starting to take its toll on the players which is no surprise. This gives the team a chance to reflect on the Aston Villa defeat and plan for the huge weekend match against Manchester United. Click Here for Full Article Hopefully we can field a strong team against them. Lucas Neill missed the last five minutes against Villa with a tight hamstring but he is thought to be ok for the weekend.

Apparently we are going to be handing a four day trial to a young Belgium Under-21 international named Stijn De Smet in January. He has caught Hughes` eye. The Cercle Brugge midfielder will be trialled via Rovers` request and his team feel that he could benefit from the experience abroad. Cercle are known as our feeder club and the likes of Sergio Peter have been loaned to them over the years. De Smet will come in handy due to injuries etc and hopefully if he comes here maybe on loan he will adjust well and prove his worth.Tuesday 7th November 06
I don`t know if I am the only person but I find myself a little confused with what`s planned with Andy Todd and Dominic Matteo. I thought they would have been going out on loan, especially Matteo as I could not see them forcing their way back in other than through injuries. But Hughes is saying that they will have to be patient if they want to get back into first team affairs. Then again I can see why they have been kept here even though they are side-lined. Hughes wants to keep them until at least January due to his crippling injury list that is leaving him short of cover. No doubt he will amend this in January and then we should have sufficient depth. Click Here for Full Article

I have said it a few times now but it is not long until the transfer activity all kicks off again. It appears to me that either Hughes does not have much planned during the window or he is holding his cards close to his chest. It is said that he might strengthen but he feels that should Ryan Nelsen, Steven Reid and Jason Roberts return come January, this alone will be like having three new signings and not much activity will be needed. When bringing players in Hughes always looks to see if players that would come are better than those in is starting eleven and Hughes feels he has some very good first team players and said that anyone who would come in would have to be exceptional to take there place. Obviously Wael Gomaa is being linked again and I think he appears a promising prospect but we`ll just have to wait and see.Wednesday 8th November 06
Next week will see eight of our players answer that international call of duty again. This time however it will not be disrupting to the league at all and this will flow as normal. Thankfully they will not be jetting off all over the world as the majority are staying quite local. Lucas Neill and Brett Emerton will be joining their native Australia in London to play Ghana in a friendly. Jay McEveley travels to Dublin with the Scottish B team and Jason Brown sets off to Wrexham to represent Wales against Liechtenstein.

The above will take place next Tuesday and on Wednesday Aaron Mokoena`s South Africa face Egypt in London also. Perhaps Hughes will be treated to an appearance by Wael Gomaa should he make the Egyptian team. Peter Enckelman will jet to the Finnish capital Helsinki to take on Armenia in a friendly and Morten Gamst Pedersen goes Belgrade with Norway to compete against Serbia. Oh and we must not forget Andre Ooijer who will meet up with his Holland at the Amsterdam Arena to try beat our beloved England. (Beloved that is if you are English like me!)

Going back to Wael Gomaa, as we thought he would, he is being linked with joining us in January. It is said that he impressed in the summer when on trial and no doubt he would be a welcome addition to Hughes, especially as we have had injuries and cover is always needed at hand. I hope that Hughes does pursue his interest as from what I know about him he seems a decent chap and player. Click Here for Full ArticleWe have again been linked with Belgium Under-21 international Stijn De Smet from feeder club Cercle Brugge and apparently he is a player of promise. It is always good to have young talent. Say we do have him on loan and he is playing well, I wonder who would make room for him up front? Or perhaps he could be a bit player coming on as a sub as he is still young? The relationship the two clubs share is said to be very good and in its third year now. It is something of a long-term rather than short and they have competed in friendlies at the academy in the past. It seems to be a mutual relationship with players going each way on loan.

Thursday 9th November 06
Once again Wael Gomaa is being mentioned and his club Al Ahli have agreed to let him fly out here to undertake a medical. Saturday will see his club take on Tunisia's Sfaxien in the African Champions League final and once the game is complete which would be good to see Gomaa on the winning team, he can depart straight to us. He will be in England next Wednesday with the Egypt team where he will be competing against our Aaron Mokoena, so should Hughes not attend that game/have staff watching then Mokoena could give him a run down.

As well as Gomaa, we are also being linked with another Egyptian by the name of Amr Zaki who we will compete with Manchester City to sign. Again, I am not sure what Hughes will have planned as although Jason Roberts is out and injuries are unforeseen, how will everyone fit in and who would make way if someone had to unless it will be a case of squad rotation and substitute appearances? To capture this 23-year-old assassin it is set to cost us in the region of £2million.After missing the last three games due to a grade one hamstring tear, Hughes is hoping Brett Emerton will prove fit enough to face Manchester United on Saturday. Medical staff appear to be confident that he could feature and I`m sure he would be very keen to make it a treble of wins over United. Hughes rates these as two of his finest moments in management and too right he should as it does not happen that often. When we did the double over them last season, we had an even slower start to the season than this year and no doubt the first win alone boosted our campaign. So what better way to get back to league winning ways than over the current best team in England/Britain. Come on boys, rough them up a little if need be but remember to keep it fair as we don`t want to be branded cheats now do we!

Graham Poll has seen himself become the centre of controversy after sending Chelsea`s John Terry off as result of supposedly teaching Chelsea a lesson. Hughes believes it will be wrong if referees try and take emotion out of the game. Basically Hughes thinks action should be taken only if the shout is aimed at the referee as the pitch is the player`s work place and industrial language is used in the office and on occasions players will swear. He feels because of the emotion of the game it can sometimes be the only form of release. Hughes does not encourage these actions but thinks it is understandable to an extent. There is a line that the players can not cross as we all know but I agree with Hughes that if they take emotion out of football then it could end up being quite boring. Obviously us fans will always enjoy the beauty of watching fine quality football but it needs that emotion; after all despite the ridiculous money get paid, they are not robots! Click Here for Full ArticleHughes is bracing himself for the Manchester United weekend challenge. Some people might argue that our double win over them last term and not losing in the last five could go in our advantage but obviously it will be a tough challenge and all runs have to come to an end. Hopefully their midweek Carling Cup slump to Southend won`t see them coming at us with a backlash. Hopefully we could target that weakness perhaps. Hughes thinks they are playing some of the best football he has seen them play in the last couple of years and their standard is of the highest order. Hughes knows all too well from playing under Alex Ferguson that he will be looking for a reaction and fielding possibly his strongest team against us as he always does, which Hughes considers as a sign of respect. Quite rightly so as we have a good track record against them.

Friday 10th November 06
I`m not sure if it is someone just starting crazy talk but I could not believe my eyes when I read we are being linked with David Beckham. I myself can not see him wanting to live life in Blackburn but still, I guess there is always that slim chance that Hughes relationship with him as a player could go in our favour. Hughes has said that should he become available that he would test the water and why not as there is no harm in trying. I can`t see it happening myself but would be quite a coup all the same if it ever did. Click Here for Full ArticleBrett Emerton is on the verge of coming back from injury but Hughes is saying that it is touch and go as to if he will be available against Manchester United tomorrow. Click Here for Full Article It will be good to have him back as he has been playing well and as Hughes knows when Emerton was playing the team were performing well so it goes to show that when all the senior players are available we play well. Despite him being back tomorrow or not I have a feeling that whatever way the result goes, it will be close.

It is being said that we are interested in signing Kevin Doyle from Reading. He is having a decent season so far during their first top flight campaign but obviously Reading do not want to let any of their strikers go if they want to be taken seriously, especially if they are scoring goals. Click Here for Full Article I`m not sure we will need a new striker to be honest as those we have are good and we`ll hopefully have Jason Roberts back in January so will be like a new player in itself if he can settle straight back in.

Despite us being allocated them extra 2500 tickets for the UEFA Group game against Feyenoord they have since sold out and an extra allocation of tickets is now being requested. Apparently people can still enquire and applications will still be taken by the box office yet nothing is guaranteed of course. Either way, we should have a fairly decent backing of support when we travel to Feyenoord on Thursday 23rd of this month.Saturday 11th November 06
When Benni McCarthy was a wee nipper he supported one of our rival teams, the very team we are playing today…Manchester United. He said that a lot of English football is shown in Africa and that everyone wanted to be associated to winners. When we faced him today he was hoping to continue his good start to his time in England and do well against them, perhaps even score another two goals past them like he did when with FC Porto when they knocked United out of the Champions League. He is determined to do well for us to show why top clubs other than us were interested in him.

Unfortunately though it was not to be his day or neither ours as we fell to a 1-0 defeat. Hughes was however pleased with the performance as we played a good game and gave them a run for their money. He thinks that if we had scored first then it would have been even harder for them as we would have picked up the tempo and made it harder. We hit the woodwork but other than that, I guess it was just not to be. At least we put in a decent performance against them though making it tougher than many other teams have done this campaign.

Hughes had no complaints and feels we did ourselves justice. He is right in the fact that we are hurting due to missing a number of our senior players who I think no doubt would have made a difference in some way or another and helped gain us a few more points when we should have taken them in the last four league games. Hughes thought the goal was disappointing as perhaps more could have been done to cut out the ball going across goal but he has nothing to say against the players. Tottenham will be tough on Sunday but hopefully we can turn our fortunes when they make that trip to us.Hughes believes that his former club stand a good chance of winning the title this season. He had no complaints about losing to a team of their quality and thinks it will take a really good team to stop them as they tend to get better in the second half of the season. I might have to agree with Sparky on that one as things are looking rather peachy for United. Hopefully with our own campaign though we could finish up there with them again in the top six as that would be a real achievement two years in a row. Top four would be fantastic but that looks to be a bit of a tough challenge though at the moment.

Sunday 12th November 06
Not much has been happening today. As usual as it is a Sunday, things are quite quiet. I guess if they aren`t playing then it must be pretty much a day of rest. David Nugent is being linked with us and three other clubs in a January move. Obviously nothing has been confirmed and perhaps a little speculation but we will have to wait and see what kind of activity we will be seeing.

Dennis Wise is said to be keen on taking Andy Todd out on loan but Hughes has put a block on that. It is no secret that it would be tough for him to break into the first team we are playing as despite injuries he is still not getting in there. But Hughes does want sufficient cover in all areas so is wisely keeping him just in case which is a wise move as we don`t want to be short at all now.

There is more talk about Lucas Neill moving to Barcelona and the Spanish giants facing a fight from Liverpool and AC Milan but that is all old hack and nothing that the world did not know about back along. It might be wise to cash in if someone wants to take him in January as the cash could come in handy, not that I want to see him go but you don`t always get what you want.

Date:Wednesday November 15 2006
Time: 10:34PM

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