Allardyce hails McCarthy after vital win

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Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce hailed striker Benni McCarthy for setting up his side's first win in 10 Barclays Premier League games but warned the South African must still be treated with caution.

McCarthy fired in the corner from which Chris Samba put Blackburn ahead against Fulham at Ewood Park then in the second half lofted in a free-kick for captain Ryan Nelsen to head home. But fatigue is one of the key issues facing Allardyce, with a heavy run of fixtures due to the two-legged Carling Cup semi-final, and he admits his more senior players such as McCarthy may struggle.

Allardyce said: "Benni is a delicate situation because of the game scenario, so choosing his games is crucial for us. He has had some good performances for us but we need to be careful."

Allardyce had dropped David Dunn to the bench for the same reason and there were a few signs early on the gamble had not paid off as the home players visibly struggled with the pressure.

Allardyce added: "The pressure is felt by all of us, no-one more than the players and staff. We are more tense and nervous than anyone else and we have to accept that as a challenge.

"They were a really pleasing three points because the pitch was not in the best condition, the opposition were very good and we are in the middle of three games in six days."

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson revealed afterwards American forward Clint Dempsey is feared to have suffered knee ligament damage, which could rule him out for the foreseeable future.

Hodgson said: "Clint will be scanned on Monday but we feel it might be a posterior cruciate knee ligament, which would be very bad for us and he would be out for a while.

"It's a concern up front because Clint Dempsey is very useful for us but now, with both he and Bobby (Zamora) out, it makes us a bit weaker in that area than we'd like to be."

Asked whether that meant he would dip into the transfer market, Hodgson added: "I'm a little bit reluctant to go and spend money on a player who maybe in the long term might not make us better. We will get players back and maybe we just have to accept that."

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Benedict McCarthy
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Benedict McCarthy

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