Date: 11th September 2006 at 8:59am
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Having returned to Blackburn Rovers for a second spell on Friday Stephane Henchoz has made Mark Hughes a happy man.

With the 32-year-old Switzerland International being a free agent, following his release by Wigan Athletic in the summer Hughes was able to sign the central defender outside of the transfer window, bringing him back to Ewood Park after a seven-year absence.

He needs a number of weeks to be match fit to be perfectly honest,” said Hughes when speaking on the official Blackburn Rovers website.

Having been without a club since May Henchoz will obviously be a long way from full match fitness so I would think if we saw him much, if at all before the end of this month it would be a surprise. He will no doubt put in plenty of training and feature in some reserve team outings as he builds up his match sharpness and improves his fitness.

Hughes would go on to explain his reasoning behind the re-signing of former Rovers favourite Henchoz and express his delight at doing so, saying:

But I thought it was an opportunity that given the situation we found ourselves with Ryan Nelsen facing an operation I thought it was too good an opportunity to bring a player of his ability and experience into the club.”

So I’m delighted that we’ve been able to cover the loss of Ryan with somebody of the quality of Stephane.”

Henchoz first arrived in England in 1997; being signed by former Rovers boss Roy Hodgson for £3 million. His consistently high levels of performance alerted Liverpool and a move to Anfield would eventually take place in 1999.

A highly successful six-year stint at Anfield, which would see a great partnership formed with Sami Hyypia, would end when new Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez decided Henchoz wasn’t part of his plans. Short spells with Celtic and Wigan followed before his release by Wigan in the summer.

Although a surprise move Rovers fans know almost everything about Stephane and his return will be a boost to the club and will give Hughes another option, and a vastly experienced one at that.

Despite thoughts that Henchoz’s contract may have only been a short-term deal until January it is in fact a contract for the remainder of the season at least.

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