Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stymied Samba Is Sidelined by Kean

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stymied Samba Is Sidelined by Kean

Article excerpt

BLACKBURN captain Christopher Samba is fit and available but will not be in the squad for tomorrow's trip to Arsenal, Rovers boss Steve Kean said.

The defender has not played since handing in a transfer request last month, which was rejected, and Kean said after Wednesday night's 2-0 defeat by Newcastle he did not feel Samba had been in the right frame of mind to return to the side.

The manager had stated his intention to sit down with his skipper yesterday and was hopeful they could put the matter behind them, but at a Press conference yesterday the media were told questions about Samba were off limits.

Kean said: "I'm prepared to say he's fit and he's available but he's not in the squad for the Arsenal game.

"I'd rather speak about people who are available to play against Arsenal. Chris has trained well today but he's not going to be in this squad."

Samba is a huge figure for Blackburn both in defence and attack, and Kean's reluctance to discuss the situation is sure to cast more doubt on the centre-back's future at the club.

Samba's long-time defensive partner Ryan Nelsen was allowed to leave Ewood Park after having his contract cancelled by mutual consent and yesterday joined Tottenham on a short-term deal.

Spurs assistant manager Kevin Bond revealed Nelsen would go straight into the squad for Monday's meeting with Liverpool, despite playing only one Premier League game this season because of knee trouble.

Rovers had expected Nelsen to go to Major League Soccer in the US before Tottenham's last-minute interest changed his mind, and Blackburn fans are sure to question his release if he does go on to play a part for Spurs this season.

Kean said: "He was having a lot of problems with his knee. Right at the last minute he got the call (from Tottenham) and he's decided to go with it.

"We understand the pain he was in and I hope their medics can look at it and get him back on the pitch because he's found it difficult. …

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