Blackburn Club Focus – Rovers need to find goal-scorers other than Yakubu

When Blackburn Rovers travel to the Stadium of Light this Sunday, under-pressure manager Steve Kean will once again be relying on in-form striker Yakubu to fire his side to another three vital points. Last weekend, the well-travelled 29-year-old became the first player to score four goals in a single Premier League game for the Lancashire outfit. That took his tally for the season to nine top flight goals, the same number as England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney. Yakubu has already comfortably filled the gap left by Nikola Kalinic, the Croatian forward who left Ewood Park in the summer – but are Rovers in danger of relying too much on their Nigerian goal machine?

It certainly appears so at the moment, since Rovers’ other main strikers, David Goodwillie and Jason Roberts, have failed to find the net in the league so far this campaign. Highly rated youngsters David ‘Junior’ Hoilett and Ruben Rochina, who have often found themselves playing down the flanks, have had more luck in front of goal, but the exciting duo have only managed to score five Premier League goals between them this season. Yakubu’s terrific form is currently hiding the deficiencies of Rovers’ other strikers, but the Nigerian’s scoring streak will not last forever. Unless Roberts and Goodwillie are ready to step straight in to Yakubu’s boots and ease the burden when he goes off the boil, Kean’s struggling side could face major problems in the near future.

Captain Chris Samba’s comments this week however, seem to indicate that Rovers will continue to rely on the £1.5m man for goals. According to the Lancashire Telegraph, Samba said: “What Yakubu did for us is no surprise to any of us at all. We know if you give the ball to the Yak he is going to produce something on the right spot for you all the time. I have no doubt he can reach 20 easy this season, no problems. We just have to make sure every time he scores we keep the back door shut and win games that way.

Kean is looking to bring another striker in when the winter transfer window opens, with Vedad Ibisevic and Andy Johnson heavily linked to the club. That said, Rovers had some difficulty clinching their key targets last summer and it would not be a surprise if January came and went without another quality forward being added to the ranks.

For the time being however, Rovers have no option other than to depend on their only firing striker to help them climb up the table. The Lancashire side, who have won just one of their last 16 away games in the league, face fellow strugglers Sunderland, with Martin O’Neill in charge of the Black Cats for the first time. A second consecutive victory might be enough to see Rovers lift themselves out of the dreaded drop zone, but if Yakubu’s luck begins to run dry during the game, then the visitors could slip to the bottom of the Premier League table once again.

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