Souness hopes Amoruso's return can lift Blackburn

Graeme Souness will turn to Lorenzo Amoruso to get him out of a crisis at Blackburn Rovers. The Italian centre-half is set for his first game in almost six months against Leeds United on Saturday, and he may be asked to to play through the rest of the season.

Amoruso has had a difficult spell at Blackburn since signing from Rangers and struggled for form before a knee problem forced him to have surgery and miss most of their struggle to avoid relegation.

Amoruso played in two reserve games prior to this weekend. But he has picked up minor injuries in recent weeks and Souness has few options if he was to be ruled out again.

The Blackburn veteran Craig Short has picked up a calf injury that may rule him out for weeks, and possibly end his Blackburn career. Short's contract runs out in the summer and this latest injury puts him in a weak bargaining position as Rovers prepare for some tough decisions in the summer.

Souness is also likely to recall Lucas Neill, left out at Liverpool for fear of a backlash from Liverpool supporters after his tackle on Jamie Carragher earlier in the season ended in a broken leg for the Liverpool defender.

Souness' hopes of turning to Barry Ferguson in his hour of need are remote. Ferguson's comeback from a broken kneecap is moving slowly and he may only manage to make the last game or two of the season.

In a far more secure position in the League table, David Dunn hopes to return to fitness in time to help Birmingham's push for Europe. The England midfielder has been out of action with a hamstring problem since the end of February but is set to resume training this week.

Birmingham are currently sixth in the Premiership table, only three points off a Champions' League place. Manager Steve Bruce will no doubt welcome the news that Dunn, a £5.5m summer signing from Blackburn, is close to a first-team comeback.

"I should be back in training with the rest of the lads at Birmingham later this week," Dunn said. "It will be a relief to be back among them. My recovery is going very well. I have been reaching all my targets so far.

"It might sound funny, but we have been doing tests to try and aggravate the injury, and it seems to be responding really well. I hope to be back playing against Wolves at St Andrew's on 25 April."

While former the England Under-21s captain Dunn - handed his only full international cap in a friendly against Portugal last season - is unlikely to feature in Sven Goran Eriksson's final squad for Euro 2004, the 24-year-old believes James Beattie could yet force his way on to the plane to Portugal.

Dunn was a trainee alongside Beattie at Blackburn and watched him against Wolves last weekend, where he scored in Southampton's 4-1 victory.

"I really hope he can make a late push into the England squad for Euro 2004," said Dunn. "He is a different striker to anyone else England can call upon at the moment.

"He would be a great weapon as a substitute, coming on late to cause problems with his size and ability in the air."

The Southampton captain Jason Dodd will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Dodd was carried off during the second half of his side's win at Molineux on Saturday following a late challenge by the Wolves forward Henri Camara. Initial fears were that the 33-year-old could be facing a career-threatening injury, but scans revealed a tear of the medial ligament which will put the full-back out for between six and eight weeks.

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