Kean: We'll call off derby if Bolton want


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The Independent Football

The Blackburn manager, Steve Kean, said yesterday he would be happy for this weekend's match at Bolton to be postponed if Wanderers feel they are not ready to play because of Fabrice Muamba's ordeal.

Bolton's scheduled Premier League match at Aston Villa tonight has already been postponed while Blackburn host Sunderland and Kean said Rovers would be guided by their Lancashire rivals over Saturday's game.

"The whole footballing world has come together," said Kean. "Whatever we have to do, we would only respect what Bolton want us to do next weekend. We hope he [Muamba] makes a full recovery but if they need a little bit more time and the game doesn't go ahead, then we would respect that.

"Everyone is taking advice from the hospital and experts in that we are hoping for progress in 24-48 hours and I know we are getting close to that point. We will respect everything that has to be done to facilitate a full recovery... for his team-mates, who could quite possibly be in a difficult position.

"It is a thing that hits everyone between the eyes, because you look at a young man as fit as he is and the way he plays – he is full of energy, you would think he is just a machine and he is going to keep going. All of a sudden from nowhere he is in a position where he is critically ill in hospital. Our thoughts are with him and his family."

Rovers had their own experience of a player's heart problems this season when Gaël Givet was taken ill in a match at Sunderland, coincidentally the visitors tonight, in December.

"Gaël got to a level at which he could not regulate his heart. It was racing at a ridiculous level and if we didn't get him off the pitch he could have had a cardiac arrest," said the Rovers manager.

"We managed to get him off and soon after that he had a procedure which used some lasers to sever some nerve endings, which just regulated his heart.

"It didn't sound too straightforward to me but according to the doctor it was. He has made a full recovery and we were fortunate we were able to have the medical information on the side [of the pitch] that managed to get Gaël off."

Kean said clubs had stringent medical tests in place already, but suggested the procedure may have to be looked at in light of what has happened to the 23-year-old Muamba. "Players get a full medical. They go through a screening process which involves MRI scans and examinations to the nth degree, so I don't know now if there will be a full angiogram put in and people look at the heart in much more detail.

"Our medical staff pride themselves on having one of the best screening processes in the world, [but] speaking to our doctor we probably wouldn't have picked it up either. Maybe we have to go a little bit more detailed – or maybe you can't ever get to know that something like this will happen, no matter how much medical screening you do."

Probable teams



Blackburn v Sunderland Tonight, 8pm (Highlights, Sky Sports 1, 10.15pm. Referee M Atkinson (West Yorkshire).

Odds: Blackburn 11-8; Draw 23-10; Sunderland 2-1.