Monday, 16 January 2012

Pedersen Pleads With Venkys Not To Sell Stars


Morten Gamst Pedersen is hoping this 3-1 defeat of Fulham will stop Blackburn’s absent owners giving up on the club.

Steve Kean’s fighters bounced back from the setback of seeing Yakubu sent off in the 23rd minute to force a surprise victory.

It was Pedersen’s low free-kick on half-time that kick-started a win that lifted Rovers out of the bottom three for the first time in four months.

And you could sense a new- found optimism sweep around a ground that has resembled a bear- pit in recent times.


But with owners Venky’s ­reluctant to pump funds into the coffers there is a fear this high will be short-lived.


Stars like Chris Samba and Junior Hoilett could be shipped out this month to keep the bank off Venky’s back.

They will be replaced with little more than loan signings, the first of which could be Bordeaux striker Anthony Modeste.

That thought frightens honest Norwegian Pedersen who is convinced the squad might just scrap their way to safety if left intact. He said: “It’s a great feeling being out of the bottom three. You saw everyone’s commitment.”

“Fulham didn’t take advantage but we played some really good football.

“Now if we keep this squad together, we should stay up. That’s what we think and want.

“Everyone here is a Blackburn player and we have to keep them. We had most of our players out there and we did well, so that says something.”

Rovers will also need to keep David Dunn fit. He crashed home the second just after the break to give his side breathing space.

Fulham pulled a goal back when Damien Duff was given too much time to angle home a finish.

But sub Mauro Formica used his pace to get in behind Fulham’s woeful defence and finish the excellent Steven N’Zonzi’s lofted pass to secure only Blackburn’s fourth win of the season.

And while the Rovers’ fans who protested at Kean’s continued presence at the helm during a 24-hour sit-in at Ewood Park celebrated, Pedersen added: “We’re still in a battle, we have to be realistic.

“We’re only equal points with the team in 18th place. We’re not going to win 10 games in a row. There are loads of other clubs around us. If we can keep together and work hard we know we can be better than them.’’

Rovers’ near-perfect day was only soured by the absence of want-away skipper Samba.

It looks like he has thrown in the towel on Rovers’ bid to stay up, skipping this game with a “virus’’ in a move which has got nobody at Ewood Park fooled.

Kean is determined to force his captain to honour a contract he only signed last summer.

The Scot said: “He texted the doc and it was disappointing he wasn’t available for this game.

“He trained well all week and we’ll make sure he gets the proper medication to get over a nasty bug. He’s not for sale.’’ That was the same message ­Blackburn got when asking about Fulham frontman Andy Johnson.

The striker came on as a sub but had no influence on a Cottagers side that meekly rolled over.

Fulham chief Martin Jol said: “Andy Johnson is a very good player. I think that is almost impossible he will leave.

“It’s always a disaster to lose to 10 men. But although it looked fine in the first half, they scored.

“You know when it is 0-0 it is always an advantage to play against ten men.

“But for them, it was probably easier than most teams. They dropped off and we had to force the issue. We played with urgency. “On the other hand they scored a second goal.

“That was probably the worst scenario against 10 men.

“Then it’s 2-0 and even more players will play in advance of the ball. They knew that so they tried to break on us, with four or five players.

“All credit to them. They handled the ­situation better.”

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