N'Zonzi doubt for Blackburn

Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 by PA

Midfielder Steven N'Zonzi is a doubt for Blackburn ahead of Saturday's match against Wolves at Ewood Park.

The midfielder was the only member of the first team squad not to train, after picking up an unspecified injury with France Under-21s in midweek.

Brett Emerton (thigh) is fit, Franco Di Santo is back in full training after hamstring trouble and Ryan Nelsen (knee) should figure, although Steven Reid is still struggling with an ankle problem.

Rovers manager Sam Allardyce says he would have been happy to start the season the way Wolves have done ahead of the sides' meeting.

Mick McCarthy's newly-promoted team have made steady progress in their opening sequence of Barclays Premier League fixtures, bouncing back from a home defeat against West Ham on the first day of the season to claim victory at Wigan and a further point against Hull.

Blackburn, on the other hand, find themselves in the relegation zone after suffering defeats against Manchester City and Sunderland in their opening two games before being held to a goalless draw at home by West Ham.

It makes the encounter a must-win game for Allardyce's team, and the manager is wary of the momentum Wolves are building on the back of their Championship-winning campaign last year.

"Getting your first victory is very important, but if you are getting it away from home at Wigan, it gives you great confidence," Allardyce said. "Then they got a draw against Hull City, so I think they've had a reasonably good start.

"They have suffered with a couple of injuries as well, as we all seem to do more often than ever before in the Premier League. But I think Mick will be reasonably happy with his start - certainly I'd like it, compared to ours in terms of points."

Wolves will still be without key quartet Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Michael Kightly, Chris Iwelumo and Kevin Foley for the trip.

Winger Kightly is training with his team-mates but is not quite ready to return to competitive action following his broken metatarsal, while strikers Ebanks-Blake (hamstring) and Iwelumo (metatarsal) and right-back Foley (knee) continue to make progress with their rehabilitation.

Defender Stephen Ward and goalkeeper Matt Murray (both knee) are long-term absentees.

New signings Segundo Castillo and Stefan Maierhofer are both in McCarthy's squad and could make their debuts at Ewood Park.

McCarthy's men have had a mixed start to their return to the Premier League and sit in 13th place with four points.

They return to the north west for the third consecutive away game with McCarthy knowing they will face a tough test.

"Blackburn haven't had a good start, but Sam is a wily experienced manager," he told the club's official website.

"It's early but he won't like the position he's in and I am sure he'll be wanting to kick against that and beat us.

"So it will be a tough old game, no question and there's no doubt it will be a physical encounter.

McCarthy added: "Don't think for one minute they'll be saying `Mick's team will be a right pushover'.

"We've handled that side of it particularly well."




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