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Football League

Blackburn Rovers uncertainty stalls appointment


Blackburn Rovers' attempts to tie up the contracts which will make Kevin MacDonald and Judan Ali coaches of the club are on hold because the club's managing director is in India trying to resolve Ewood Park's state of internal civil war

MacDonald hopes to be confirmed as head coach of the deeply divided club over the weekend and is understood to be enthusiastic about the position, despite reservations about the two years under the ownership of Venky's. MacDonald, formerly Alex McLeish's assistant at Aston Villa, has had no say or involvement in the decision of Rovers global adviser Shebby Singh to appoint rookie Ali to work with him. Despite initial rumours that Ali's appointment might be in doubt because of adverse supporters' reaction, he also held more talks with Singh at Brockhall yesterday.

Supporters responded with dismay to the news that the two coaches were to be appointed before any manager had been secured to guide Rovers from 17th in the Championship. But an equally fundamental problem is the strain in relations between managing director Derek Shaw and Singh – which Shaw has headed to India to address with Venky's. Relations between the two have become particularly strained in the past few days, after the dismissal of Henning Berg as manager.

The academy bosses Gary Bowyer and Colin Hendry are due to take charge of the Rovers first team at Barnsley today. There have been suspicions that Singh may wish to take on a footballing role in the absence of a manager, though he denied suggestions he had taken training himself. Singh insisted there are enough coaches still at the club to get them through this interim period. "We've got capable people," he said. "Gary Bowyer has been reserve team and under-21 manager. It's been business as usual."

Rovers Action Group spokesman Glen Mullan said yesterday: "Nobody has a clue what is going on. The supporters want Singh, Shaw and Venky's out. Shebby will get it double-barrelled tomorrow from the supporters. If he even thinks about going near that dugout god help him. Everyone is now looking towards protesting on New Year's Day. It's gone beyond a joke."