BLACKBURN // Steve Kean has been given the chance to prove his management credentials after Blackburn Rovers owners Venky's yesterday announced he will remain in charge until the end of the season.
Kean, 43, was promoted from first-team coach to caretaker manager following the surprise sacking of Sam Allardyce and assistant Neil McDonald last week, a move criticised by many prominent figures, including Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager.
Venky's, the Indian poultry giants who took over the club last month, stressed they would not be rushing to appoint a permanent successor to Allardyce, and they put their trust in Kean despite his lack of managerial experience.
Kean's first game in charge was a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Premier League bottom side West Ham last weekend, after which he stressed he did not know how long his tenure would last. But in talks with the owners this week, reportedly during a trip to India, the Scot appears to have convinced them the team is in competent hands.
Kean, who was previously assistant to Chris Coleman at Fulham, Real Sociedad and Coventry, could have been forgiven for having second thoughts after a first 10 days in charge that has included public dissent from fans and players, as well as a growing injury list.
His position was also publicly questioned yesterday by Allardyce, who claimed McDonald would have been a better choice to succeed him. Kean's first priority on his return to Ewood Park will be to try to placate captain Christopher Samba, who has reportedly told the club he wants to leave.
"If this is the way the club's going to be run from now on, I don't want to be part of it and I want to leave," the defender was reported as saying in The Sun. "As captain it's very difficult to say this but I've thought long and hard about it. Nobody in football understands the decision to sack Sam."
The former captain Ryan Nelsen was also left confused, and said following the West Ham draw: "I have no problem with any owners doing anything, it's their club.
"But, the thing is, when you make a monumental decision like that - and it's the biggest decision any club can make - you like to think there's a back-up plan. We as players know nothing, the staff know nothing. Nobody knows anything about what's going on."
Yesterday's decision means Kean will be the man in the hot seat during the January transfer window, although how much money he will have to spend remains unclear.
The owners have already set a top-seven finish as their target. Rovers go into Sunday's clash with Stoke City at Ewood Park sitting 12th in the table, six points above the relegation zone and four points behind seventh-placed Bolton Wanderers.