A Blackburn Correspondent's Diary
Albion Burton vs. County Derby
ABC, it's easy
It's like counting up to 3
Or simple as Do re mi
Sing a simple melody
That's how easy love can be!
So today's opening friendly is a tribute to Michael Jackson? Duh... do re mi me me it's Nigel, Son of Clough. This is the team he took into the Football League, this is the team that was better than Derby County in his view when he made the switch. Early days then, not exactly Thriller.
& the Rams? Still a work-in-progress. Nigel's bringing along Mark Fotheringham for the first half, an ex-Canary, who's impressed in training, and ex-Leicester Patrick Kisnorbo, yet to train with the Rams. Kris Commons & Rob Hulse are out injured already, and it's only July.
Nigel? "Rob's had a nagging groin problem from the end of last season. He did quite a lot of work on it during the summer and did the first few days of pre-season and then felt it again. He's had an injection which we hope has settled it down and we're hoping he starts training next week. Kris Commons dropped out during the week in a running session with a tight hamstring, so we hope to get him back training next week as well."
We're keeping them both then? There have been rumours that we'll cash them in, so I'm glad they're injured! "It's a possibility, but something we're not dwelling on too much as we want them here and in our squad." We're close to selling Liam Dickinson to Brighton after the two clubs agreed a fee. The midfielder spent time on loan at Huddersfield and Leeds last season.
Meanwhile, former Notts County and Burton goalkeeper Saul Deeney is training with the Rams with a view to securing a full-time contract.
Yes, It's humble, down-to-earth, honest-to-goodness man management, just like his Dad, only without the hysteria so far.
Contrast that with Big Sam, a man who's orchestrated (nothing painful, no high voices) a few campaigns up at the top, and is getting ready for the next wave of top teams - no, not the Leeds friendly, mega-bucks Man. City for starters. How are your walking wounded, Sam - Steven Reid, Brett Emerton and David Dunn could all be in contention for the start of the season? "The timescale is certainly back fit in time for the start of the season. Whether they get selected is a delicate matter, though."
They'll be keen as mustard, though? "I always think when a player returns from a long-term injury they come back like a new player. It's because they've been through such depression by trudging through gym work and around the training ground on their own. So the delight they feel when they're given the all-clear and start getting involved in the banter again means they're totally refreshed."
Allardyce is being realistic about Van Nettlerash now. "I think probably Ruud, from a salary point of view, is out of our reach and I think he is not going to be fit until September. We need someone right now who can join up with the squad as soon as we can."
Rovers' first friendly is away to Cambridge on Tuesday.