Allardyce: No pressure to sell

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Sam Allardyce watched his new Blackburn squad train for the first time on Thursday ahead of Saturday's home clash against Stoke and insisted he was under no pressure to offload any key players.

The new manager has already got rid of assistant manager Ray Mathias and first-team coach Archie Knox, remnants of the short-lived Ince era, and brought in Leeds coach Neil McDonald, whom he worked with for a time at Bolton.

However, he hopes there will not be any big-name player departures, claiming: "We don't have to sell anyone in the January transfer window."

Striker Roque Santa Cruz has long been linked with a move to be reunited with former Rovers boss Mark Hughes at Manchester City, having starred under the Welshman at Ewood Park last season.

But Allardyce added: "I know how good the players are - it is one of the reasons I am here - so why would I want to sell any of my best ones?

"I'm not going to do that. Trying to evaluate the squad is the most important thing before I even think about January's transfer window. Too often managers come in, particularly at this time, and can make a judgmental decision far too early on a particular player having seen him not at his best.

"It is much more difficult now in the Premier League to find the level and quality of player you need than ever before in my experience over the last eight years."

Chairman John Williams, who revealed Allardyce was the first man he turned to having sacked Ince, gave his new manager his full support in holding on to their star names.

"The key thing is he believes he can get the best out of what we have got," he said.

"You are not going to get out of jail if you sell your best players."

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Stoke City
Manchester City
Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Mark Hughes
Premier League
Roque Santa Cruz
Mark Hughes
Leeds United

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