Club Focus – Blackburn – Sunderland mauling was for Big Sam

Blackburn Rovers were unable to build on their away victory over West Brom as the Blues fell to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at the hands of high-flying Sunderland on New Years Day. Manager Steve Kean took his side to the Stadium of Light knowing that Rovers were in the hunt to secure back-to-back away wins for the first time in nearly two years. However, the Lancashire outfit were without several key first-team players, which made their job all the more difficult against Steve Bruce’s Black Cats.

Robinson, Samba, Jones, Salgado, Andrews, Grella and Kalinic were among the absentees, meaning that the Blues faced an uphill battle before a ball was kicked. Goals from Danny Welbeck and Darren Bent within the first 20 minutes of the game stunned the Blues who were unable to find their way back into the match. Another striker, Asamoah Gyan, heaped further misery on the visitors with a goal towards the end of the second half.

Sunderland manager Bruce dedicated the victory to former Blues boss Sam Allardyce, who was dismissed by the club’s new owners last month. Bruce said: “I would like to say, that’s for Sam. I spoke to him before the match and the nonsense that went around with his sacking, that was for him. I hope he has a drink in Dubai, where he is at the moment. That was for him.”

The result leaves Blackburn in a respectable 11th position in the Premier League table, although the Blues have played one or two games more than most of the teams below them. Worryingly, Rovers’ next two Premier League games are against Liverpool at home and Chelsea away.

Defender Chris Samba may not have been ready to face Sunderland, however the centre-back, who was stripped of the captaincy following uncertainty over his future at Ewood, will be reinstated as the club captain when he next plays. Kean said that Samba had not requested a transfer and was not looking to leave the club unless a bigger side were interested in acquiring his services, therefore he would regain the captaincy.

Meanwhile, the transfer window has reopened and fans are desperate to see how much money the club’s new owners are willing to invest into the side. Due to the current injury crisis, Kean is looking to strengthen in all areas. Speaking on Friday, he said that the club were hoping to bring in two or three new players within the next two weeks. Rovers have been linked with a whole host of players since Venky’s took over a few months ago, however it remains unclear exactly how much the Indians are willing to spend.

Brazilian midfielder Roanldinho has been linked with the club over recent days and some national newspapers are suggesting that he has been offered over £130,000 a week in wages to play for Rovers. Whether the former World Player of the Year is enticed by that option remains to be seen, however even the suggestion that Rovers could swoop for Ronaldinho highlights the ambition of the new owners.

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