Kean stays positive amid calls for change
Pressure grows in build-up to key game but Rovers manager refuses to quit
Tuesday 20 December 2011
Blackburn manager Steve Kean claims he has received no indication that his job is under threat as he prepares for a defining game against Bolton this evening. After meeting their fellow strugglers, Blackburn face Liverpool and Manchester United, raising the prospect of the club having just 10 points as they enter 2012.
Following months of protests, supporters agreed to a two-game truce before the match against West Bromwich on Saturday. But that only lasted until Peter Odemwingie gave the visitors a 2-1 victory in the 88th minute and yesterday, the local newspaper, the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, called for Kean to walk away in a front-page editorial. It was the latest bizarre and unprecedented episode in a tumultuous 13 months under the ownership of Venky's.
But even though normal football logic seems to be ignored by the Indian poultry conglomerate, defeat this evening would surely put Kean's position in danger ahead of tomorrow's scheduled board meeting.
When Kean spoke to representatives of Venky's after the West Bromwich defeat, talks surrounded transfer targets for January and he says his future was not mentioned. His task has not been helped by a lengthy injury list and Scott Dann, the centre-back, who will miss up to six weeks after suffering a ruptured testicle against West Bromwich, is the latest absentee.
Dann sustained the injury in scoring on Saturday and after playing the remaining 19 minutes in agony he returned home, only to rush to hospital, where he had surgery within minutes of his arrival. Fellow defenders Martin Olsson, Ryan Nelsen and Gaël Givet, who will undergo a heart procedure on Thursday, are also absent, meaning Blackburn's back four could contain youngsters Grant Hanley and Adam Henley.
Despite picking up just seven victories in his 37 Premier League matches in charge, Kean, who was given an improved contract last month, is adamant there will not be a point where he is tempted to quit.
"I will not walk away because I believe I can turn it around," said Kean, who was joined by his young son at yesterday's press conference. "I believe once we can get a couple of wins under our belt and get a settled side we can get some wins. I believe if we can get a side that is in the treatment room on the pitch, we will win games.
"That is not just me saying that, you speak to other managers and they will tell you the same. We are a good side when we can get the side out there. The owners have given me their backing and the players are behind me.
"We are in a position that is tough. I'm not making excuses because I don't like to make them but we have to look at the injury position we are in and it is tough to get a settled back four out for two games on the bounce. Players are getting injured and we accept that as a reason why we are letting in goals."
Although many believe Kean would not have been given a top-flight job in any other circumstances, his task has been impeded by Venky's, who have failed to deliver on bold promises about their plans for the transfer market.
Kean remains convinced of their faith in him and does not feel insecure about their lack of public support. "It is not for me to make statements," he added. "The backing I have got from the owners is clear. There will be funds available in the window. We have already got to names.
"It is not just a case of figures floating about, it has got to a level where names are being accepted and I have got the backing of the owners."
After the battering he has received over the past year, Kean can see why tonight's losing manager will be expected to leave his job imminently."I can understand why that can be written," he said. "All I can do is prepare the team to win and express to you as honestly as I can, as I always do, that my conversations with the owners continue to be positive."
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