Emerton vows to return better than ever from op

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The Independent Football

The Blackburn Rovers midfielder Brett Emerton admits he is finding it hard being sidelined with a serious knee injury, but is confident he can return to full fitness. The 29-year-old Australian will undergo an operation in his homeland today to repair a damaged cruciate knee ligament, which is expected to keep him out for at least six months. He sustained the injury in the goalless draw at Middlesbrough on 31 January and admits it is difficult to cope with the knowledge he will not play again this season.

“I couldn’t believe it when they told me I was going to be out for six months with a knee reconstruction,” he said. “I’ve never had a long-term injury throughout my career. I see it as another test for me, something I’ve got to get through and I’ll be back just as good as ever, if not better.”

The injury means Emerton can only watch Rovers’ battle to avoid relegation from the Premier League and also Australia’s campaign to reach the 2010 World Cup. “Hopefully, the Aussie boys will qualify for the World Cup and the boys at Blackburn will rally together and stay in the Premier League,” he added. “It’s just so disappointing because we’ve got a very important few months with Blackburn and with the Socceroos and it’s a shame I’m not going to play a part in any of that. There are a lot of positives. If it was this time next year then I’d be looking at possibly missing the World Cup.”

Emerton’s absence means the transfer window signing El Hadji Diouf is likely to get an extended run on the right of midfield.

The Senegal international, is one of the players Blackburn’s manager, Sam Allardyce, is looking to chip in with his fair share of goals. Diouf has not scored in 17 matches this season but he and the rest of his Rovers team-mates are being encouraged to ease the burden on the strikers.

Roque Santa Cruz, Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts have contributed 16 of Rovers’ 27 league goals and Allardyce believes they should be getting more support. “We definitely need more goals from elsewhere,” the Rovers manager said.

“The strikers are paid to score goals and they get the headlines when they do. Other attacking-minded players have to come up with a few more goals to take the pressure off the forwards. Around your team you need midfielders with four or five goals, players in wide areas with five or six, centre-halves with three or four. That gets you to the total that gets you more points on the board. We have the players to score goals from all over the team and now is the time we need these players to show that.”

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