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Owen Coyle is tipping Shane Duffy to hit back after nightmare week at Blackburn Rovers

By Daniel McDonnell

Owen Coyle refused to single out Shane Duffy for criticism after the Irish defender scored three own goals for Blackburn in the space of a week.

The former Everton defender, who was excellent at Euro 2016 for the Republic of Ireland, has had a horrendous run of luck at the start of the season.

Duffy turned down a new contract at Blackburn ahead of their loss at Cardiff on Wednesday night, but went on to suffer a horror show in front of potential suitors by twice putting through his own goal in the first 20 minutes.

He was then sent off for kicking the ball away in the final minute, the second time he has been dismissed in his last four competitive games having seen red in the Republic's last-16 defeat to France at the Euros.

The Derry man also found the wrong net last weekend in their 3-0 defeat to newly-promoted Wigan Athletic and has now struck as many own goals as the current top scorers in the division.

The 24-year old was believed to be a target for Brendan Rodgers and Celtic, but these performances won't have convinced the Carnlough manager to get the chequebook out just yet.

Nevertheless, current manager Coyle believes Duffy shouldn't bear the brunt of criticism.

"I'm not going to stand here and single out players," said Coyle. "We don't work like that. Anything we say will stay in house. Nobody goes out to make mistakes, nobody goes out to play a bad game, and nobody goes out to score own goals which unfortunately happened.

"Because of the speculation, you've got to understand there will be huge third-party interest, chipping away every day telling them this, telling them that.

"To his credit he kept going and nearly pulled off an equaliser late on."

Duffy will miss tomorrow's Championship clash with Burton Albion at Ewood Park, but will be available again for Tuesday's EFL Cup match-up at home to Crewe Alexandra.

Coyle knows that his international defender will be up for the challenge of bouncing back next week.

"Shane will pick himself up and go again, that is what he needs to do," Coyle stated.

"We all know that if things don't go well then you come in for criticism. You've got to deal with it head on and you've got to be honest about it."

• West Ham suffered more jitters in Giurgiu as they were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League play-off.

The Hammers, bidding to reach the group stages for the first time, looked set to take a 1-0 lead back to the London Stadium next week thanks to Mark Noble's penalty on the stroke of half-time.

However, Romanian champions Astra Giurgiu, who beat Slaven Bilic's side in last season's qualifiers, stunned the visitors again when sub Denis Alibec hit a late equaliser.

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