Return of the Yak boosts Kean
Blackburn boss Steve Kean is delighted to be in the position of being able to unleash Yakubu Aiyegbeni back on Premier League defences.
Last Updated: 10/02/12 6:33pm
Blackburn boss Steve Kean is delighted to be in the position of being able to unleash Yakubu Aiyegbeni back on Premier League defences this weekend.
A three-match suspension followed his red card in a 3-1 win over Fulham, and Rovers have picked up just a solitary point in his absence.
Their inability to grind out results means they remain inside the Premier League drop zone, while a 7-1 mauling away at Arsenal last time out has dented their already fragile confidence.
Yakubu's return has offered a timely boost to morale, though, with the Nigerian striker expected to be thrown straight back into action in a home date with fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers.
"To get the Yak back, he's our leading scorer and we've missed him," Kean said.
"I think he's quoted as saying that three games felt like three months so it's brilliant for us to have him back. He's our leading scorer and if we give him the service he's going to be a real important player for us in the remaining games.
"The good thing is that during that period he's trained really, really well. He's put a lot of hard work in.
"It's not only his enthusiasm, he's a clever player. I think the centre-halves he plays against he gives them a hard time because he's always difficult to pick up.
"We've got a way of playing him now because we know what his favourite runs are and we know what service he likes. He's been getting really good service, hence the reason he's been scoring so many goals and the type of goals that he has.
"He's an infectious character round the place and he's always got a smile on his face and it's great that he's back and available for selection again."
Anthony Modeste and David Goodwillie stepped up alongside Junior Hoilett during Yakubu's absence, and Kean has been quick to praise the pair's efforts during a tough time for the club.
He said: "I thought [Modeste] did well, especially against Newcastle. I thought he was unfortunate not to score.
"It was difficult for him against Arsenal with us losing Gael Givet [to a red card] and going down to 10 men, the service was very limited so that was a tough game for him but I feel as though he's done well.
"Also we've had Goodwillie who's been ill and missed the game against Newcastle at a time he's got three goals in four games, so having the Yak, also Anthony playing well, David Goodwillie scoring goals, there's different permutations and selections we can put up there."