Hughes rallies to Rovers' cause

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Mark Hughes yesterday said his surprise transfer from Everton to Blackburn Rovers was down to his undimmed desire for first-team football.

Mark Hughes yesterday said his surprise transfer from Everton to Blackburn Rovers was down to his undimmed desire for first-team football.

The 37-year-old, who goes straight into the Rovers squad for tonight's First Division home match with Tranmere Rovers, left Goodison Park on a free move and underlined his desire to lead Graeme Souness' side back to the big time.

"Blackburn Rovers are the only club I would have considered dropping down a division for," Hughes said. "Players were coming back into the team at Everton and I wasn't always sure of a place. I could have seen out my contract at Goodison but when Graeme Souness enquired, I knew this was a good move for me."

Hughes' arrival has eased the striking problem for Rovers, who have Matt Jansen, Nathan Blake and James Thomas injured, which has left Souness with only two fit strikers available, Craig Hignett and Egil Ostenstad.

Tranmere also have problems in attack, with their manager, John Aldridge, missing another former Everton forward, Paul Rideout, who sustained a hamstring injury during the 2-2 draw with West Bromwich at Prenton Park on Saturday. Better news for Aldridge is the return to the squad of the defender Clint Hill, who missed the weekend game because he was serving a one-match suspension.

Nottingham Forest are likely to be without defender Craig Doig for the match with Burnley at the City Ground. The Scotland Under-21 international was carried off on a stretcher with an ankle injury during Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Watford, but the problem is not as serious as first feared. Forest will definitely be without striker Stern John, while teenager Keith Foy is doubtful.

Burnley, seeking their fourth successive away league win, are expected to field the team which won at Queen's Park Rangers at the weekend. Winger Glen Little will again be absent with a hamstring problem, while John Mullin, who came off the bench to score the winner at Loftus Road, is likely to be substitute again.

Sheffield Wednesday may name an unchanged line-up for the first time this season as the Owls make the trip to Queen's Park Rangers. The experienced defender Des Walker should be fit after a head injury and Ashley Westwood is recovering well from a shoulder problem, but Alan Quinn is a big doubt owing to a hamstring strain. Rangers could be without striker Clarke Carlisle, who has flu, while Richard Langley is struggling after sustaining an ankle injury.

Birmingham, who face Gillingham at St Andrews, start without Geoff Horsfield, who sustained a thigh injury during the 1-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend, while Mark Burchill, on loan from Celtic, is struggling with a calf injury and is doubtful.

The Northern Ireland international Danny Sonner is another major doubt as the midfielder is struggling with a muscle injury that forced him out of the game against his former club at Hillsborough.

Gillingham will be without Carl Asaba and Guy Butters as the Kent club search for their first away win of the season.