Date: 5th December 2006 at 2:18pm
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Blackburn Journals Monday 27th November – Sunday 3rd December 2006

Monday 27th November 06
It is good to hear that Aaron Mokoena is signing a new contract with us. Click Here for Full Article We only paid £300,000 for him last year and to me it has paid off as a shrewd piece of business as he has featured sixty-three times in both defence and midfield. It is good to have versatile players in the squad and he has also filled in nicely for Robbie Savage whilst he was out. The deal will keep him with us until 2009, that is as long as he wants to stay and remains wanted.

It was a comfortable night for our reserves against Chester in the Pontin’s Holiday League Cup. Goals were scored by Eddie Nolan, Matt Derbyshire and Raffaele De Vita in the first half and the other two came in the second half by Joe Garner and Gary Stopforth. It was a good result and no doubt there were some good performances. If only the first team were getting results like this. Getting back to winning ways will be a start. Hopefully we can get back to winning ways against Fulham following our draw against Tottenham a week ago.

Tuesday 28th November 06
It has been announced today that the FA Cup draw will take place on Sunday and we have been allocated ball number five so if any of you are going to be watching the live draw then look out for our hopefully lucky number. Obviously we would like a relatively comfortable match but with the traditional giant killer teams in the draw with nothing to loose, I guess no match is easy is it.

Just over a month and then we have a month of frenzy during the January transfer window. It appears that most eyes will be on Lucas Neill and where he will probably end up going to. Liverpool are said to be in pole position at the moments despite interest from Chelsea and Newcastle who are set to offer more cash; I would be disappointed if he went to the latter as he wants

We are reported to be keen on 22-year-old Sparta Prague midfielder Tomas Sivok along with Everton and Celtic. He is also thought to be of interest to Bayern Munich, Hamburg, Lens and Anderlecht as they have also attended recent matches. There have already been clubs putting in bids in the region of ?3 million but the club are saying that there are no plans to sell him any time soon. It appears he has done well as of late as he suffered a serious knee injury last year but is reported to have bounced back well and I guess he must have done due to all this interest. His club claim to have no knowledge of any interest for him which perhaps could be genuine but then again they could be trying to put clubs like us off so that they could keep one of their key players.

Thursday 30th November 06
Not much has really happened today in the world of Blackburn Rovers. It has all been the same old hack such as Lucas Neill and the clubs that are interested in him etc?tell me something I did not know!

Obviously Lucas Neill is making the news with the ongoing uncertainty of what is happening with his future. Obviously John Williams has said that he would like to keep him but obviously it now looks like he probably will be leaving come January.

Although Neill may be leaving soon, one player we know that is going nowhere is Aaron Mokoena who is on the verge of signing his two year contract extension. He knows his strengths and weaknesses and does not try to do more than he can and he is rightfully delighted at being a Rovers player for the next two and a half years saying that is the highlight of his career and he feels that it will not be long before he achieves all the goals he set out. I`m sure Hughes will help him with this. It is no surprise that Hughes is a fan and thinks of him as a very good signing which is true as he has been a valuable player. Hughes knows that he can play a lot of roles in the team and that and he is a key member of Hughes sq

Italian striker Vincenzo Montella is being linked to us along with Newcastle and Fulham. At 32 he is obviously not a youngster but he still probably has a lot to offer even though he did not feature much last season and has only made four starts this term. Even so he has already scored three and it makes me wonder how a player can score in with limited opportunities yet not be wanted.

Friday 1st December 06
Just over three weeks until Christmas and this time of year brings a nice busy schedule so plenty of action to look forward to. We have had a boost with the fact that Ryan Nelsen, Steven Reid and Jason Roberts should be back come January. Obviously for a while it has been said that they were expected back about this time but it does not always go that way. Reid has been told that he can up the tempo which is obviously one step closer yet obviously his match fitness will be eluding him so he still has a bit of work to do. Nelsen and Roberts are also making great progress and everyone is happy with their progress. It is a shame Nelsen`s diagnosis was not discovered sooner as he could have been even closer to a come back.

We face a tough competition from Fulham tomorrow and Hughes does not intend to underestimate them as they surprisingly beat Arsenal 2-1 during mid-week. That was a fine game for them yet for some reason I have a feeling that we could get back to winning ways as we need the points more and sometimes off the back of a huge win the next game could go against you. We have not won a league game in two months now and we are definitely due a win. But Hughes as well as anyone knows that Fulham are playing some fine football and it will be a tough game Click Here for Full Article. Hughes hopes that we can start to be rewarded for our good performances which have not got us the results we wanted and he sees t

Hughes has often spoken of how we have been playing well and feels that performance levels have consistently been high throughout league and Europe. Obviously UEFA preparation has in some way disrupted league preparation and we have not done as well as we would have liked in the league yet Hughes has pointed to the fact that the games that we have drawn have been against good opposition. Hughes believes that should we carry on the way that we have done then the results will eventually start to come our way. Last December saw us have a good month and this December will see us playing eight games in total being league and Cup matches. I hope and don`t we all that we can launch our campaign up the table starting tomorrow against Fulham and with the busy month ahead Hughes knows we can focus clearly on what lays ahead.

I don`t know if I am the only one but I am tired of hearing about Lucas Neill and his future. I like Neill and want him to stay yet it is old news and getting a little boring. Saying that though January is coming up so he will be in the frame as people will be interested in him. Hughes has warned those interested parties that he will not be selling Neill on the cheap and too right. If people want him that bad and think he is that good then we should make people pay his worth so that we can also benefit. It is thought that Hughes might once again try a swap deal with Liverpool for left-back Stephen Warnock and there are also other players in the equation for a swap yet if Neill was to leave in a straight forward sale then we want to be compensated rightfully. Either way I believe that Hughes will do what is right for the club all-round.

Aaron Mokoena has spoke of his rewards for staying patient after failing to hold a regular place in the first team. He never thought of quitting the Premier League or leaving England and Mark Hughes was a major factor in this by constantly reassuring him that he was needed and was too important for Hughes to let him go. To Mokoena Blackburn is a second home to his native Africa and hopefully he will remain here where he belongs. It is good to see that patients paid off and if only more players would prove themselves rather than sulk because they don`t get their way.

Mokoena has also gone on to back Benni McCarthy to come good and get the ball rolling for us in the right direction. Benni has not shown fully what he is capable of but he has still scored quite a few goals and more than a lot of strikers have this season. Obviously he is still adjusting to English football but I think on the whole he has done good enough and as Mokoena said, Hughes being a former striker himself (and what a great one at that) understands what it can be like so no doubt he will back him all he needs.

Saturday 2nd December 06
Our Irish youngster Tony Kane has signed on for Stockport County for another month to see out the rest of the year. He has so far made quite the impression and is obviously benefiting from this run about he is getting out on loan. I`m sure this will develop the lad and perhaps he could be one for the future?!

I was expecting a tough test from Fulham following their mid-week deserved victory against Arsenal but it appears I was worried over nothing; however I did not doubt that we could not win as we have been playing well all season and have picked up a few points recently with the draws we`ve had and as it`s been two months since our last league win, one was finally due. I was pleased to see Shabani Nonda get a goal as I like him and he has worked hard and deserved a goal. I hope he can go on to get more and prove he is a keeper come the end of his loan spell. Also it was good that Benni has added to his goals he has scored do far. We deserved the win and it was a fine first half performances. Hughes was rightful proud of the performance and feels it was a comfortable win. Nonda and Benni worked well together and Hughes is pleased for them and feels it would have taken a really good team to beat us today Click Here for Full Article. Hopefully we can keep it going and repeat it game in game out for the rest of this busy month just as we did last December.

Sunday 3rd December 06
After talk of Aaron Mokoena signing a two year extension to the six months he has remaining, he finally finalised the deal and signed today. I welcome this extension as he has a lot to offer and has proved that he is more than capable of playing his part and has definitely shown his patience and commitment. It makes it even better the fact that he loves the club and sees it as his second home as that is the kind of attitude you want from the players that are going to be representing us and no doubt he will give us is all. He is full of praise for Hughes, the rest of the management team and the club in general and looks forward to helping us continue to climb the league and progress in Europe and I do too.

The third round draw of the FA Cup has taken place and we have been drawn against one of our Premiership rivals whom we have not faced in the cup for twenty years. We travel away to Goodison Park to face Everton and in 1986 they beat us 3-1 and eventually lost to their fiercest rivals Liverpool. One thing in our favour though is the fact that we have quite a good record in recent years away to Everton having won three of the last five outings. We have busy times ahead with the league, UEFA Cup and the FA Cup but I think that the large number of games could perhaps go in our favour as the extra matches will get us motivated and playing regular football. Hopefully we can avoid having too many injuries and keep fit the majority of our key players.


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