Football

Blackburn Rovers Vs Newcastle United, Sat 12 Feb 2011

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Striker Roque Santa Cruz returns to Blackburn's squad for the visit of Newcastle.

The Paraguay international has missed the last two matches with a groin injury but has now fully recovered.

Defender Gael Givet (groin) is still not fit, although utility player Phil Jones' rehabilitation from a knee operation is ahead of schedule and he is set for a possible return in April.

January signings Mauro Formica, who arrived from Argentinian side Newell Old Boys, and Ruben Rochina, from Barcelona, are still a few weeks away from featuring as they continue their integration into the squad.

Blackburn manager Steve Kean is looking for his side to show more ruthlessness at both ends of the pitch.

Rovers were on the end of a 4-3 defeat at Wigan last week and have conceded eight goals in their last three matches.

It was a similar situation for the Magpies, although they produced one of the best second-half performances seen in the Barclays Premier League by fighting back from 4-0 down to draw 4-4 with Arsenal.

Despite the entertainment factor, Kean is hoping there will not be a repeat this weekend.

"When you look back on our recent games it has been a little bit frustrating not to get anything out of them because we have played well," said the Rovers boss, whose side have won just two of the last six in the league.

"We know the areas of the pitch we need to work on: we have been predominantly working on finishing, obviously, and defending in the final third so we have split the group with the limited time we have had this week.

"It was more of a domino effect in terms of conceding the goals against Wigan, with the exception of one they were not great goals to concede.

"But the amount of chances we had we have to be more ruthless. Box-to-box and the build-up play is okay but we need to be a bit more ruthless in each box."


 

Newcastle strikers Leon Best and Nile Ranger will be fit to take their places in the squad.

Best withdrew from the Republic of Ireland squad with a tight hamstring, while Ranger did not report for duty with England Under-20s because of a back problem, but both men will be available at Ewood Park.

They will be joined in the squad by new recruit Shefki Kuqi, while Shola Ameobi hopes to return from a fractured cheekbone in as little as three weeks' time after being fitted for a protective mask.

Central defender Steven Taylor will return to training after a hamstring injury on Monday, while loan signing Stephen Ireland continues his recovery from the knee problem he picked up while with Aston Villa.

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Topics:
Football
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Newcastle United

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