Football

Blackburn Rovers Vs Chelsea, Sat 30 Oct 2010

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Christopher Samba and Ryan Nelsen are set to return to the centre of the Blackburn defence for the game with Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea at Ewood Park.

Samba will come back in to the side after missing last weekend's defeat to Liverpool at Anfield through suspension.

Nelsen, who has been missing with a thigh injury, trained with the squad on Thursday and will return provided he suffers no adverse reaction.

Jason Roberts is also back in full training, but midfielders Steven Nzonzi and Vince Grella are out with hamstring and groin injuries respectively.

Ahead of the game manager Sam Allardyce has warned Blackburn fans they will have to get used to the inconsistency of youth as he can barely even afford to bring in players available on free transfers.

Indian poultry giant Venky's are expected to complete a takeover of the Ewood Park club next month, but chairperson Anuradha J Desai revealed earlier this week just #5million will be made available for players.

Allardyce admits he has had to rely heavily on the likes of 18-year-old Phil Jones, Steven Nzonzi, 21, and Martin Olsson, 22, this season rather than on bringing in big-name signings because of financial constraints.

And that has perhaps told in the club's position in the Barclays Premier League, where they lie fourth from bottom with nine points from nine games ahead of the Chelsea game.

"We've benefited greatly from the youth element at Blackburn," said the former Bolton and Newcastle boss. "Life is difficult as it is. Without them it would be even more difficult with the financial problems which we've had to resolve in my time here.

"We've made a big profit on transfers which hasn't been reinvested in new players - it's had to secure the club financially. So youth is the name of the game and of course with youth you get inconsistency so you have to be even more patient.

"The vast sums of money that are coming in at the top end of the game are stretching the rest of the sides to try to get as much benefit out of what finance they've got and get the best players they can find for that finance.

"But I think that there's a big factor that's sneaked in that's made it that much more difficult and it's not transfer fees - it's wages. They are astronomically high and have now made it very difficult to even take

a very talented free transfer today which is what the norm would be for Blackburn Rovers in the past, or a small fee with good wages."

Chelsea will once again be without Frank Lampard.

It had been hoped that Lampard would return to training this week after missing the last 10 games but the England midfielder will instead step up his rehabilitation from a hernia injury next week with a view to him playing some part in next weekend's match at Liverpool.

Alex will start the match after missing last week's win over Wolves with a thigh injury but Ramires (ankle) and Yossi Benayoun (Achilles) remain sidelined.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has warned his players that they will have to stop taking their foot off the accelerator during games if they are to successfully retain their crown.

Chelsea have taken advantage of a number of slip-ups by their rivals to establish a five-point gap at the top of the table with almost a quarter of the season gone.

Yet the Blues boss, who clinched the title last season in his first year in charge, has voiced his concerns recently that his team are not performing to their potential.

The Londoners had to rely on a late goal from Salomon Kalou to seal a 2-0 victory over Wolves last week and have been guilty of easing off on their opponents at times this season - most notably against Stoke and Blackpool.

Ancelotti thinks his team will have to be more ruthless in closing out matches if they are to claim victory in the key battles against Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and Arsenal that lie ahead.

"We have started the season well but I think we can play better because we played very well in some parts of some games but not continuously," the Italian said.

"We have to play 90 minutes how we want to play. We have to improve our play and our intensity. We can't just play for 45 minutes like we did against Wolves. We want to play well for the whole of the match and we haven't been able to do that so far this season."

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Topics:
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Chelsea
Premier League
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