'We're stretched to the limit' - Hughes

December 11, 2006

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes is fearful of suspensions adding insult to the injuries that are already hurting the club.

Hughes will know tomorrow if an appeal lodged against the red card awarded to Stephane Henchoz during Saturday's 3-1 home defeat to Newcastle is successful.

With Ryan Nelsen recovering from a long-term hamstring injury and Zurab Khizanishvili sidelined with a groin problem, the potential absence of another centre-back in Henchoz could hit Rovers hard.

Hughes, who is also without Brett Emerton, Steven Reid and Jason Roberts through injury, said: 'We can't afford to lose too many more bodies.

'It is a bit difficult at the moment because we are stretched to the limit, but suspensions will have an impact.

'We're also getting a few injuries on top of long-term ones, so we need to get a few players back.

'That won't happen for a number of weeks, so we go with that we've got. We'll pick ourselves up and go again.

'The squad will have to be used because we are down to the bare bones. Players will have to come in and have an impact.'

Swiss defender Henchoz was dismissed in the 40th minute by referee Dermot Gallagher for a challenge on Obafemi Martins in denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity.

At tomorrow's disciplinary commission hearing, Rovers will argue Henchoz initially won the ball and that the tackle was wide on the left and over 40 yards from goal.

If the Football Association uphold Gallagher's decision, Henchoz's suspension will hand a rare opportunity to Andy Todd.

Todd came on at the start of the second half against the Magpies for his first appearance since the second Premiership match of the season.

'I thought Andy was ready and able to do the job I asked of him,' added Hughes.

'He's not had a great deal of football this year, but he came in and was very solid.'

After six defeats from their last eight league games, Blackburn are now hovering precariously above the relegation zone.

Hughes knows what is required to turn the situation around, adding: 'We approach games in exactly the same manner as we did in the second half against Newcastle.

'The qualities that we need - determination, a willingness to go that extra yard for the cause and looking after your team-mates - we saw on Saturday, and they will see us through this period.

'We just hope things will turn around very quickly.'