Hughes urges European focus
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mark Hughes has called on Blackburn to keep up their charge for Europe.Blackburn boss Mark Hughes has called on his players to keep up their charge for Europe against Sunderland on Wednesday night.
Rovers are currently just four points shy of sixth placed West Ham although successive away defeats to West Brom and Everton have somewhat undone the good work of their stunning 4-3 win over Manchester United.
The visit of The Premiership's bottom side presents the perfect opportunity for Hughes' side to regain form, and the former Wales boss has asked his stars to lighten the mood at Ewood Park.
"I think that's why there is a little bit of disappointment around the place after the last two away games we've had," Hughes told Sky Sports News.
"It's understandable as we got ourselves in a great position after the United result and from our point of view we feel we haven't capitalised on it.
"We've got another great opportunity on Wednesday and I see no reason why we can't go out and get the three points that we hope we can.
"Then we're very much in the mix, will have got 40-odd points and will be pushing for that European place."
After rescuing Rovers from a relegation fight after Graeme Souness's departure early last season, Hughes is now determined to see his side push on and achieve their aim of European football.
"We've got a certain target of points we feel we can attain this year, we're still on track for that amount of points if we hit all our targets we've set ourselves," Hughes continued.
"Given the amount of points that have been needed in seasons gone by to get a European place we'd be on track for that.
"From our point of view we'd hope to pick up more points, we've got more periods we're gearing up for and one is more difficult than the other so we'd hope to have more points on board prior to going into that period.
"Apart from that we're having a good season, we slipped up away from home recently but we have a real chance to bounce back now."
Rovers's chances of beating Sunderland have been further increased by the news that Norwegian winger Morten Gamst Pedersen is available after missing the 1-0 defeat to Everton.
Pedersen has played a crucial role under Hughes this season, and his return to fitness from a knee problem could see Australian international Brett Emerton relegated to the bench.