Steve Kean uses prospect of Junior Hoilett deal to cling on at Blackburn


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The Independent Football

The embattled Blackburn Rovers manager, Steve Kean, appeared to have survived his latest crisis meeting with the club's owners Venky's, the poultry company, in India yesterday, having convinced co-owner Anuradha Desai that he remains the man to lead the relegated club back to the Premier League.

Whether Kean will make it through the summer without losing his job remains to be seen but his efforts yesterday are understood to have centred upon telling the key figures who own Rovers he would be crucial to persuading Junior Hoilett to re-sign for the club.

The Canadian winger, who is highly-regarded by many Premier League teams, is out of contract next month and the club are still trying desperately to persuade him to sign a new deal. While this prospect seems remote in the extreme, Kean has long told the owners Venky's that his future at the club is crucial to how Hoilett regards his own future.

Despite interest from the likes of Manchester United, Bayern Munich and Arsenal in Hoilett, the Championship club still believe they can sign the 22-year-old to a new deal this summer. As it stands, a player re-signing for his club having run down his contracts is virtually unprecedented, especially one at a club that has been relegated. There have been serious doubts raised at Ewood Park as to the legitimacy of Kean's claim.

His meeting yesterday was with Desai and Balaji Rao, one of the two brothers who are also co-owners of the club. It is Desai who remains Kean's ally at Venky's although how long she decides to back him remains to be seen. Venkatesh and Balaji Rao both favour sacking their manager. Kean is expected to arrive back from Venky's base in Pune, western India, tonight.

Kean faces fierce opposition from Blackburn supporters who have petitioned Venky's to replace him before the start of the next season. Kean recently claimed the Indians were "100 per cent" the right owners for the club. There is a strong mood at Ewood Park that the manager must be replaced if the club is to move forward.