Steve Kean will take charge of his second game as caretaker manager of Blackburn Rovers, this time against Stoke City on Boxing Day. The Scot did not get off to the best of starts on his managerial debut as Rovers only managed to gain a point from the home fixture against the Premier League’s bottom side, West Ham. However, Kean will have a chance to turn things around against Tony Pulis’ men on Sunday.
Although Kean is officially still the caretaker manager of the Ewood Park outfit, various media reports suggest that the former Coach is in pole position to be given the job full time. It has also emerged that Kean has flown over to India to have a discussion with the owners. The local newspaper also suggests that Kean will be the man to make decisions about who comes into the club during the January transfer window.
Meanwhile, Allardyce has reportedly questioned the decision to appoint Kean as the new manager, albeit temporarily. According to the Daily Mail, Allardyce believes his assistant manager Neil McDonald would have been a more appropriate choice. Allardyce is also on a mission to find out who turned the owners against him. The former Bolton Wanderers boss is still shocked at his dismissal and believes he was the man to take the club forward.
As for on-the-field matters, teenage sensation Phil Jones will be out for around four months following a successful knee operation. Jones, 18, is one of the highest-rated Premier League youngsters and has been an ever present for Rovers this season but had to come off injured against West Ham at the weekend and will be a huge loss to Kean. However, Jones’ injury could allow another talented youngster, Grant Hanley, to get a better taste of top-flight football. Hanley replaced Jones on Saturday and could provide good cover for Rovers’ first-choice centre-back pairing of Ryan Nelsen and Chris Samba.
Rovers are also currently without a number of key midfielders, meaning the January transfer window could be important for Kean. However, until then, the temporary boss will have to ensure he can get the best out of his team on the pitch, starting against Stoke.