If Blackburn do manage to secure their Barclays Premier League status this season then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will have played a part.

As well as choosing to leave out Wayne Rooney for the clash at Old Trafford on New Year's Eve that then-bottom side Rovers won 3-2, Ferguson was also one of boss Steve Kean's most outspoken backers when Rovers fans' protests against him reached their height.

United travel to Ewood Park for the reverse fixture on Monday three points above the relegation zone, and Kean said of Ferguson's backing: "During that period I spoke to him on the phone, I had a really good conversation with him, so I take my hat off to him for taking the time to pick the phone up."

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