Ferguson sits and suffers

Blackburn Rovers 3 - Colchester 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Most Premiership clubs were desperate for the January transfer window to open. For Mark Hughes, the Blackburn Rovers manager, the end of that period this afternoon cannot come quickly enough.

Most Premiership clubs were desperate for the January transfer window to open. For Mark Hughes, the Blackburn Rovers manager, the end of that period this afternoon cannot come quickly enough.

He has not ruled out further arrivals or departures at Ewood Park but the player whose future is most uncertain remains the club captain, Barry Ferguson. The Scottish midfielder was left out of Saturday's fourth-round tie, not because of the groin injury he has been nursing in recent weeks but because of the sheer emotional strain of the deal he hoped would take him back to Rangers apparently collapsing.

"I spoke to Barry and I felt it was best he didn't play," Hughes said. "Everything will settle down after the window shuts and we'll take it from there. As far as I know there has been no further contact from Rangers and so the deal is off," he said.

As things stand Ferguson remains on the transfer list at his own request. At least, unlike the situation surrounding Craig Bellamy at Newcastle United, player and manager are still talking to one another - Hughes clearly wants Ferguson to stay.

In fact, if he had his way, Bellamy and Ferguson would be lining up as team-mates next week. While Birmingham City expect to complete a £6m deal for Bellamy today, Hughes confirmed that should the Welsh striker reject a move to St Andrew's, Blackburn were in a position to make an offer of their own.

On the field, Bellamy's countryman and fellow pantomime villain Robbie Savage has made an untypically quiet start at his new club. Then again, walks in the park such as Saturday's match against Colchester United are hardly his favourite type of occasion.

The game was effectively over after 20 minutes. Aidan Davison, the goalkeeper, took a swing at Kevin Watson's gentle backpass, missed and allowed the ball to roll into the net. "These things happen in football," said Phil Parkinson, the Colchester manager. "They've happened before and they'll happen again. He's an experienced keeper and he's strong enough to come back." Jemal Johnson, Blackburn's 19-year-old American-born striker, then marked a lively full debut with his first goal for the club and Dominic Matteo added a third.

Colchester did pass the ball well at times in the second half but the damage had already been done. A place in the fifth round for the second successive season was well beyond them.

"To beat a Premiership side you need all your players to be at their very best and even though it wasn't for a lack of effort we didn't manage that," said Parkinson, whose side have also played against West Bromwich Albion and Southampton in cup competition this season. "Blackburn were fit and strong and they closed us down all over the pitch. They were the best of the Premiership sides we've faced."

Goals: Watson og (20) 1-0; Johnson (27) 2-0; Matteo (51) 3-0.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Mokoena (Nelsen, 52), Todd, Matteo; Thompson, Savage, Tugay, Emerton (Reid, 72); Pedersen (Stead, 72), Johnson. Substitutes not used: Enckelman (gk), Gallagher.

Colchester United (4-4-2): Davison; Stockley, Baldwin, Brown, Hunt (Chilvers, 55); Halford, Danns, Watson, Johnson (Keith, 80); Fagan, Williams (Ndumbo-Nsungo, 58). Substitutes not used: Gerken (gk), Cade.

Referee: H Webb (South Yorkshire).

Booked: Blackburn Rovers Mokoena.

Man of the match: Johnson (Blackburn).

Attendance: 10,634.

Comments