Football: Rovers appoint Parkes full-time at

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TONY PARKES has explained the reasons behind his decision yesterday to accept the job of Blackburn Rovers manager until the end of the season.

The former Rovers midfielder, five times a caretaker manager at Ewood Park, will see out Rovers' attempt for an immediate return to the Premiership.

When he first took over from Brian Kidd last month, Parkes was adamant that he did not want the job full-time. However, his reorganised side have since won four and drawn four and the 50-year-old has gradually come round to the idea.

"I changed my mind mainly through results, the way the team is performing, players wanting me to take the job and support from the fans," Parkes said. "But deep down, how many chances do you get to become a manager? We're in a good position now, so I thought why not?"

Before replacing Kidd, Parkes had previously taken over from Bobby Saxton, Don Mackay, Ray Harford and Roy Hodgson at Ewood Park. Jack Walker, Rovers' owner, said: "As soon as Tony made it clear he was interested in the job the Board considered his candidacy along with the other short-listed names and Tony came out on top.

"He is a true Blue and White, has always given us outstanding service and I have every reason to believe he will again be successful this time. There is an air of confidence in the dressing room and Tony has the support of the players, the directors and the fans. Now that the managerial uncertainty has been removed, I believe the recent improvement on the field will be sustained."

Parkes added: "I haven't really turned down the job before, because I've never really had the chance before. Things should settle down for everybody now. We are here now until the end of the season and if we are successful then it may go a little further than that.

"I am a full-time manager now and it will be my decision to bring players in or to deal with players who don't want to stay with us. That is all part and parcel of the job - and I am looking forward to it. There are always funds available at Blackburn Rovers but we've got a great squad of players and over the last few games they have performed to their potential. I'm happy with what we've got at the moment. If we reach the play-offs then it will have been a wonderful season.

"I haven't seen all the players yet but a lot of them are pleased although there will be one or two who aren't and we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Ashley Ward, the Blackburn striker, said: "Everyone at the club is delighted at the news. Tony is a popular figure and has the support of all the players. We've been pushing him to take the job on a full-time basis for weeks now, but it always looked as though he was going to resist.

"We thought he didn't want it, but I think his appointment is the sensible thing to do. There's been a bit of turmoil at the club lately and Tony seems to have sorted that out. There's no reason to rock the boat now things are going so well."

Steve Guppy, the Leicester City midfielder, faces an anxious wait to discover whether he needs an operation to clear up a knee injury. The 30-year-old could be missing for some time if surgery is the only answer to a problem which troubled him at Hereford United in Saturday's FA Cup tie.

It would also be a blow for England - because Guppy is one of the few left-sided players available to Kevin Keegan as he prepares for Euro 2000.

In the short term, Guppy is a doubt for tomorrow's Worthington Cup match against Leeds and Saturday's Premiership home game against Derby.

Darren Eadie, Leicester's pounds 3m record signing from Norwich City, is expected to make his debut against Derby but is cup-tied for the Leeds game.