Blackburn setback

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The Independent Football

Blackburn Rovers' David Thompson flies to America next week in an attempt to save his season.

The midfielder has been plagued by knee problems following the three-month lay-off he had last season. Thompson, a key part of Graeme Souness' Premiership survival fight, has been unable to train recently and will see the specialist Dr Richard Steadman.

It is a major worry as Steadman is only called in for puzzling or serious cases and Thompson may need surgery that could put him out for a long time and his loss would hit Blackburn badly. Thompson will know the extent of the damage next week, but the trip to the United States will put him out of next Saturday's Manchester United match at least. The fear is that Steadman may recommend an operation, or a long course of rehabilitation that would put the Liverpudlian out for the rest of the year.

Blackburn may also have seen the last of their Italian flop Ciccio Grabbi, who is heading home for a toe operation. The £7m striker has been a disaster since joining the club and now needs surgery on the nagging problem.

Blackburn hope to find Grabbi a home in Italy - or even Russia where clubs have asked for him on loan - and aim to let him go during the transfer window.