Friday, 3 February 2012

Kean Snubs Samba Despite Rovers Struggles


Stubborn Blackburn boss Steve Kean is refusing to ask Chris Samba to return and help end Blackburn's defensive woes.

The big defender has missed Rovers' last five games having tried to force through a move away from Ewood Park in January.

Samba had his transfer request refused and was left high and dry when the window shut without him landing a new club.

But rather than welcome him back into the fold, Kean is leaving Samba at home when Blackburn travel to Arsenal on Saturday.

That is despite also allowing experienced duo Ryan Nelsen and Michel Salgado to quit the club.

Nelsen signed for Spurs once his contract at Blackburn was torn up and Salgado is now in talks with teams in the Middle East and Russia.

Their departures were predictable but Samba's continued absence from Kean's faltering side will stun Rovers fans.

Rovers are closing in on the record number of top flight games without a clean sheet set held by Sheffield United 36 years ago.

They have now gone 23 games without shutting out the opposition – just three short of the Blades sorry run, and Blackburn are desperate for all the defensive reinforcements they can muster.

But Kean said: ``Chris is fit, available but will not be in the squad.

``That decision has come from our side. The last month was a tough one for Chris.

``He handed in a request and we denied that and we will move forward when the time is appropriate but he is not going to be in the squad for the Arsenal game.''

The Rovers boss tried to assure supporters the decision to let Nelsen go was not misguided, shooting down Spurs assistant boss Kevin Bond's assertion that the Kiwi has been fit for weeks. But Kean insists he has a knee problem.

He added: ``You have to take the player's opinion. When you say to a player what's it like, and he says it's painful you have to make a decision.

``Nelly as a person, if he is saying to you he is not one hundred per cent, you have to believe him.

``He has not been fit for weeks because he has not played in any games. He has played 70 minutes of a reserve match and before that he has not played for months.

``He may look fit because his body looks in good shape but he is a long way from being match fit.''

Kean added: ``Nelsen came in to see me on Wednesday and said the deal happened right at the last minute.

``There was no medical, just a late phone call and he has 12 or 13 week contract and now has a small window to show he can compete and we hope it clicks for him.''

Kean also gave his backing to Salgado in his bid to leave Blackburn. The right-back has not featured since the defeat at Sunderland on December 11.

He said: ``We have given Michel permission to go away abroad and speak to two clubs and he is confident something will come out of those meetings and we will see what happens when he comes back.''

ends

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