x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Steve Kean confident he can achieve owners' lofty objectives

The temporary Blackburn coach is confident his side can reach the top five while spending only £5 million in the January transfer window.

Steve Kean, right, says Blackburn can achieve a top-five finish with a fully fit squad and a spending budget of £5 million.
Steve Kean, right, says Blackburn can achieve a top-five finish with a fully fit squad and a spending budget of £5 million.

BLACKBURN // Steve Kean, the temporary coach of Blackburn Rovers, is confident he can fulfil the seemingly impossible demands of the club's new owners by guiding the team into the top five of the Premier League while spending only £5 million (Dh28.5m) in the January transfer window.

"If we have a full squad and £5m, I am confident we could finish above 10th," he said. "But we need to sit down and see how the £5m breaks down. I do not know if it is just on salaries and fees or just fees. First and foremost, we need to know what the budget is.

"Can we finish in the top five only spending £5m? It is fair comment, if everyone is fit."

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, was among those to praise Sam Allardyce's work as Blackburn manager, but officials of the Indian poultry giant Venky's fired him last week, less than a month after buying the northwest England club for £46m.

Ferguson highlighted the work Allardyce did on a limited budget at Blackburn - who have been mostly mediocre since winning the 1995 Premier League - but Venky's instead promoted Kean from his role as Allardyce's assistant.

Blackburn were 13th in the 20-team Premier League, six points above the relegation zone. A 1-1 home draw with bottom-placed West Ham United on Saturday moved them up to 12th, mainly because only three games were played due to bad weather.

Kean said his experience of working with the first team will help him improve that position.

"Hopefully, I can give input because I've been working with them very closely and we know the academy group under that," Kean said. "I know everybody at the club."

Meanwhile, Phil Jones, the highly rated Blackburn youngster, has undergone successful knee surgery but is still unlikely to play much before the end of the season.

The 18-year-old defender inured a cartilage after coming off the bench against West Ham.

Phil Batty, the Rovers' doctor, told the club's website: "Phil Jones had keyhole surgery yesterday to repair the tear to his cartilage. The operation went successfully.

"The rest of the knee looks fine and he'll now begin his rehab which should be three to four months."