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Blackburn have injury concerns

last updated Thursday 29th January 2015, 4:21 PM

Blackburn Rovers manager Gary Bowyer
Blackburn Rovers
manager Gary Bowyer
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Blackburn Rovers are sweating on the fitness of in-demand top-scorer Rudy Gestede for Saturday's Championship match at home to Fulham.

The 13-goal striker, who has been the subject of a failed £3.5m from Crystal Palace, hobbled off in the 2-0 defeat at Derby County on Tuesday night.

Rovers boss Gary Bowyer said afterwards that he hoped Gestede had suffered nothing worse than a dead leg.

But there is a fear that the Benin international, who lasted only 21 minutes after replacing Tom Cairney, has suffered a thigh strain.

And if it is a serious one it would rule him out of the clash with the Cottagers and potentially end any chance of Palace returning with a bigger offer.

Midfielder Cairney is also rated as doubtful after injuring his groin at the iPro Stadium.

But captain Grant Hanley, who was the third Rovers player to be forced off against Derby, will be fit to face Fulham.

The centre-back was brought back into the side on Tuesday at the expense of Shane Duffy who dropped to the bench in spite of his man-of-the-match performance in the FA Cup win over Swansea City.

Bowyer revealed it was always his intention to restore his skipper to the starting line-up to combat the threat of Rams top-scorer Chris Martin.

Hanley helped keep his Scotland international team-mate quiet but slack defending from a throw-in and a counter-attack led to substitute Darren Bent scoring twice after coming on.

Bowyer said: "It was always the plan to bring Grant back in because we knew Martin doesn't like playing against Grant.

"We knew that Grant would be a match for him and more and he proved that.

"A lot of their play goes through Martin and it was all nice for us and all comfortable for us, so for us to get done from a long throw and then from our own set-play is not acceptable."

Bowyer admitted after the match that he had never been more 'angry and frustrated'.

And when asked if he is concerned by his side's poor form he said: "Of course I am, I'm not stupid.

"We have to make sure we work even harder on the training pitch, if that's possible, and get a response from them.

"We're going through a run which is not normal for us, it's a new experience for us.

"But we've got to take strength from last season. We lost three on the trot and then went on an unbelievable run to the end of the season."

Bowyer insisted that there was still time to turn Rovers' faltering campaign around.

But he warned any players not showing the 'bravery' and 'character' required would be jettisoned.

Bowyer said: "There's still time. If you win three on the trot in this league you're back in it and that's the message we've said.

"We've got to show some real bravery and some real character.

"The ones who want to be part of it you'll see them be part of it and the ones that don't you'll see them duck out and they won't be with us."

Source Paul Wheelock at Lancashire Telegraph
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