Hughes eyes Rovers turnaround
By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Mark Hughes is hoping Blackburn can lay the ghost of their 2005 cup semi-final defeat.
Mark Hughes is hoping his Blackburn side can lay the ghost of their 2005 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal by booking a final place at the new Wembley.
Monday's semi-final draw pitted Rovers against the winners of the replay between Chelsea and Tottenham, and Hughes is confident next month's match will act as a barometer of Rovers' improvement over the last two years.
Rovers faced Arsenal at the same stage of the competition in 2005, with the then relegation threatened side pilloried for their perceived over-physical approach to the match at The Millennium Stadium.
Mud sticks believes Hughes and the Welshman claims he has been forced to uphold Rovers' reputation ever since, despite notable achievements, including last season's sixth-placed finish.
"We are a different team to the one of two years ago. Now we see ourselves as an established top 10 side and play accordingly," said Hughes.
"We have two wingers and then there is Tugay one of the best playmakers in the Premier League.
"Hopefully we are changing people's perception of us as we have played well the last two years.
"It is a game we are trying to live down to this day.
"We are still experiencing some fall out from that time when you look at the number of bookings we pick up.
"But it was a big ask to overcome a good Arsenal side and we were not at that level then."
Meanwhile, Hughes is hopeful that a stiff hamstring will not prove too serious for Ryan Nelsen.
Nelsen, who only returned to the first team in January following an extensive hamstring operation the previous summer, was withdrawn at half-time against Manchester City and is unlikely to be fit for Saturday's Premiership match against West Ham.
"Ryan's mobility was being affected but we are not too concerned," said Hughes. "As with all long-term injuries sometimes you get little niggles after an operation."