Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Kean warning to returning Rovers

Steve Kean
Steve Kean

Blackburn boss Steve Kean has warned his returning stars not to expect they will immediately stroll back into his line-up for today's Premier League clash with Stoke.

Rovers head into the fixture on the back of an impressive draw at Liverpool and a stunning triumph against Manchester United. It is a remarkable return considering the fixture before had seen Kean condemned to fearful abuse from his own fans during a home defeat to Bolton, and even more surprising because Blackburn had 10 men missing due to injury.

Gael Givet, David Dunn and Junior Hoilett are amongst those fit again and normally, the trio would be automatic members of Kean's side, but Kean said: "Sometimes you get thrown in and you have to deliver. Now we have the added advantage of having players back for the next game but it is going to be hard for them to get back into the side."

One player certain of his place is striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, whose brace against United took his overall tally for the season to 13.

All but one of that haul has come in Premier League combat, meaning Yakubu is just five adrift of Golden Boot favourite Robin van Persie.

Van Persie's importance to the Gunners cannot be understated. But the same is also true of Yakubu, a bargain £1.5million arrival from Everton on transfer deadline day.

"It is fairly obvious," said Kean. "When you see the amount of goals he has got now, we are desperate to keep him fit.

"We look after him. He is in as good a physical condition as he has been in his career and we manage him during the week.

"There are times when we need to give him an extra recovery day because of the amount of mileage he is doing. We don't ask him to run to the channels. We just ask him to play the width of the box.

"We know if we can give him good service, he can get himself some goals."

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