Belfast Telegraph

Jones facing long lay-off

Steve Kean's start to life as Blackburn caretaker manager was marred by injuries to three key players, with teenage defender Phil Jones in danger of missing the rest of the season.

The 18-year-old came on as a substitute during Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham at Ewood Park but lasted only 10 minutes before hobbling off after falling awkwardly in a challenge with Carlton Cole.

Kean confirmed that Jones, who is considered one of England's brightest prospects, has suffered a serious knee injury, while Jason Roberts damaged a hamstring and Christopher Samba was also forced off.

"I think Phil Jones is going to be a long-term one," said Kean. "He's got quite a bad knee injury, it'll probably be four or five months, which is terrible.

"He'll have an examination in the morning and probably have surgery in the morning, too. Jason Roberts has picked up a hamstring injury. We don't think Chris Samba is as bad, it's a slight twist in his ankle."

A scrappy effort from Ryan Nelsen gave Blackburn a 51st minute lead, but West Ham battled back well to claim a deserved equaliser through Junior Stanislas.

Hammers boss Avram Grant said: "I think we deserved three points today. We created chances, we created half-chances, we hit the post. The positives are I was very impressed by the spirit of the boys. They gave everything.

"With all the problems, needing to change the team at the last moment, we fought and we almost won. We were the better side and I liked it very much because I know top teams who miss two or three players and they have a problem."

Grant is now hoping Robert Green will have recovered for the Boxing Day trip to Fulham but praised the display of 23-year-old rookie goalkeeper Ruud Boffin.

"It was a very good performance from Ruud," added the Hammers boss. "We know that he's a good goalkeeper from training and he almost saved the goal."


From Belfast Telegraph