Blackburn boss Paul Ince is relishing the prospect of having striker Roque Santa Cruz back in full flow after seeing him help fire his side into the Carling Cup quarter-finals.
The Paraguayan needed just two minutes after being introduced as a 63rd-minute substitute to put the visitors ahead at Sunderland and pave the way for a 2-1 fourth-round victory.
Ince, who had to hold the frontman back on his return from a hamstring injury, said: "Roque wanted to start, but I don't think he is quite there yet. Whatever the score had been, he was always going to play some minutes on the pitch, 20 or 35."
He added: "I'm not sure if it was his first touch, but it is important to get him on because we have been playing well this season, our build-up play has been excellent and in that final third, we have lacked that clinical touch.
"He gives us that. We will see how he comes out of it, but he looked sharp when he came on.
"He needs games. It has been a stop-start season for Roque, but if he plays games, he will score goals, as he did last year.
"It was nice for him to get a goal."
Manchester City have been linked with a big-money January move for Santa Cruz, but asked if he would resist any approach, Ince said: "Yes, 150%."
The two sides meet again in the Barclays Premier League at Ewood Park on Saturday, when Ince is hoping his men will have an important psychological advantage.
He said: "We don't get three points tonight, which is important to both. We both know we have to win on Saturday. Psychologically, it was good for us, we got a win. But we will see what happens on Saturday."
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