Blackburn Club Focus – Rovers in need of new faces

It is no secret that Blackburn Rovers are in desperate need of signing new players and disappointing results in their opening two Premier League games this season have proved just that. Manager Steve Kean is scouring the world market in search of a much-needed centre-back and a quality striker to strengthen his depleted squad, but the 43-year-old Scot faces a race against time to get the right players to put pen to paper.

For there are less than ten days before the summer transfer window slams shut, but Rovers are yet to replace the excellent Phil Jones and also the likes of Benjani, Mame Diouf and Roque Santa Cruz. Highly-rated striker David Goodwillie is the only attacking addition to the squad so far and although he is expected to blossom over the coming months, more firepower is required.

Thankfully for Rovers fans, the club has been linked with some exciting, creative players recently. Montenegrin midfielder Simon Vukcevic is reportedly on the verge of sealing a switch to Ewood Park, while Kean is also thought to be pondering a £6m move for Bosnian striker Vedad Ibisevic. Should the ambitious Rovers manager get his men, then the former Premier League champions could look a real force when going forward. Unfortunately, things are not looking so great from a defensive perspective.

Kean had to rely upon a makeshift back-four during the opening day defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Rovers were not at full-strength at the back against Aston Villa either. Promising young defender Grant Hanley is certainly a good talent, but he would not usually make the first eleven if others were fit. Swedish star Martin Olsson, who has started at left-back in both games so far, would be playing further forward if Gael Givet was available. Rovers are struggling with injuries to defenders and although that excuse will come as no consolation to the supporters, it would be cruel to suggest that the Lancashire side will struggle this season, based solely on poor performances which they have suffered largely due to key absences.

But Kean will have to move swiftly to add some strength to his back-line. FC Dallas centre-back George John has been linked with a move to Ewood Park, as has versatile Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha. With skipper Chris Samba still unfit, both of those players are urgently needed.

Despite the lack of options currently available to Kean and consequently the disappointing 3-1 defeat at the hands of Villa, there were some minor positives to take from the game. Veteran Spanish right-back Michel Salgado has been criticised by some for looking slightly off the pace at the start of this campaign, however his pass completion success rate of 89% was higher than any other player on the pitch who had completed 90 minutes.

Steven Nzonzi did well as he returned to his familiar role as an anchorman, completing 50 passes – more than any other player achieved from either side. New signing Radosav Petrovic also impressed with some crisp passing during his 15 minute cameo appearance. Rovers fans will be hoping for more of the positives and less of the negatives ahead of games against Sheffield Wednesday and Everton this week.

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