Souness set to make Cole scapegoat for Blackburn's 'worst performance'

Andy Cole's Blackburn Rovers future is in doubt as he faces the axe from Graeme Souness today, the scapegoat for the team's "worst performance" under the manager.

Cole's Rovers days may be numbered just two years after becoming the club's record signing when he joined from Manchester United.

The marksman was only back in the side for just one match, the disastrous home defeat by Aston Villa, after being left on the bench following a three-game ban. But Souness is set to leave him out and pair the teenager Paul Gallagher with Dwight Yorke in the middle as his team faces Middlesbrough today.

It would be a significant choice and shows that Souness fears that the old firm of Cole and Yorke are no longer a top Premiership force.

However Cole's axeing would be a shock as he was in good form before his suspension, while Yorke has been running hot and cold.

Souness is either trying to stir up Cole or prepare for a controversial sale, with the Boro boss, Steve McClaren, ironically among the potential bidders.

The Blackburn boss has little money to play with in the transfer window and admits he wants a striker and a left-sided midfield player. He would like to buy rather than loan.

Rovers have pulled out of a deal for United States World Cup player Brian McBride, because they would have to sign him permanently. Souness was keen to sign McBride, on loanfor the rest of the season, but the American authorities only want to sell the striker.