x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Allardyce makes peace with Santa

The Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has resolved his issues with Roque Santa Cruz and has told the striker he wants to keep him at the club.

The Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce has resolved his issues with Roque Santa Cruz and has told the striker he wants to keep him at the club. The Paraguay international gave an interview on the eve of Allardyce's first match in charge in which he said if a "better or an ambitious club" came in for him he would like to join them.

Santa Cruz missed Saturday's 3-0 victory at home to Stoke with a calf injury ? likely to keep him out of the Boxing Day trip to Sunderland ? but Allardyce said at the time he would deal with the player in due course. Having spoken with Santa Cruz, the Rovers boss is now happy the situation has been resolved. "We've had the discussion and I just said the timing I thought was very poor," said Allardyce. "He should have not done that interview. It was not certainly set up by this football club, which was disappointing." With the January transfer window looming and plenty of money to spend, Mark Hughes' targets may include the Rovers forward.

The Manchester City manager is under pressure to turn around his side's faltering season, and he has told his players to stand up and be counted to ensure they remain in his first-team plans. "You need to be strong mentally and take up the challenge. If you do that then the future at Manchester City will be there for you," said Hughes, whose side host Hull on Boxing Day. "But it is difficult for everybody at the moment. We need to get back to winning ways as quickly as possible because this run has gone on for too long." *PA Sport