Belfast Telegraph

Kean set for Samba talks

Blackburn boss Steve Kean is planning to sit down with Christopher Samba on Thursday and is confident the defender will be ready to play a key role in Rovers' bid to avoid relegation.

The club captain missed his third straight game in Rovers' 2-0 defeat by Newcastle following the rejection of his transfer request.

Blackburn stuck to their guns in not allowing Samba to leave, turning down two bids from QPR earlier this month, and Kean said: "I didn't feel as though he was in the right frame of mind. He was fit and available but that was my decision. It wasn't that Chris refused or anything, far from it."

He added: "I felt the defence against Everton and Fulham did well enough that I wouldn't have changed it anyway.

"Obviously Chris had handed in a transfer request, wanted to leave the club, that was refused. We didn't have any (more) bids, which was good really because we were only going to turn them down.

"I'll sit down with Chris and I'll say, 'Let's move on. You're at the club, let's get back to what normally happens when the window closes', where his performance level is very high and I don't foresee any other problems."

Unlike Samba, his long-time defensive partner Ryan Nelsen was allowed to leave Ewood Park, with confirmation this morning the 34-year-old had been released.

The New Zealand international, who has played only once this season because of a knee injury, is set to join Tottenham on a deal until the end of the season, and Kean praised the defender's contribution during seven years at Ewood Park.

The Rovers boss said: "He had an offer to become a player-coach at an American club, a situation that he was very excited about. It was over a two-year period and then right at the very last minute Tottenham came in and offered him a short-term contract until the end of the season.

"I don't know if the opportunity in America will still be there, I would imagine so, so he's decided to take a short-term contract. He was a fabulous servant for the club and we wish him all the best because it's going to be another chapter in his career."


From Belfast Telegraph