Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Ince has been frustrated by Benni McCarthy's fitness problems but believes the striker will soon have Rovers' Premier League rivals running scared.
The South Africa frontman has been limited to a handful of substitute appearances this season after returning from the summer break in below-par physical condition. McCarthy's self-inflicted problems have been difficult for Ince to take, given the 30-year-old plundered 35 goals for the Lancashire club during his first two years in England. However, an injury-time equaliser in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough suggested the former Porto frontman may at last be getting to grips with life under Ince.
"Even though we played well against Boro, we created lots of chances but weren't clinical enough – the game should have been dead and buried by half time," Ince said.
"Benni's been fantastic for the last two weeks. He's been away with South Africa, played a couple of games and scored a couple of goals, he came on against Boro and got a goal. We haven't got the financial clout that most clubs have got. He's a goalscorer and they can cost millions. Benni, when he gets back to his best, is a very important figure in our team."
Ince insists he was left with no choice but to marginalise McCarthy over the opening weeks of the season. "He's a professional footballer and you [have to] come back ready to train. He wasn't ready to train, but he's back, he's smiling and happy, and we need Benni McCarthy if we're going to move forward with this club."
Tonight Blackburn have a tough League game against Aston Villa who mauled Wigan 4-0 on Sunday.Reuse content