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Monday, January 22, 2007
Blackburn complete Warnock switch

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes believes Stephen Warnock has the mind-set to be a success at Ewood Park.

The 26-year-old left-back has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Rovers after moving from Liverpool for a fee believed to be around 1.5million.

Hughes turned to Warnock once it became clear Lucas Neill was moving out - he moved to West Ham almost simultaneously.

'Stephen is a guy who has got decent experience for someone of his age, ' said the Blackburn boss. 'He has played in the Champions League and in the Premiership.

'I just like his attitude to the game. He wants to get up to people, he wants to put pressure on people. He is naturally left-footed as well.

'Stephen would be a very good acquisition as I am trying to get a balance to the squad.'

Blackburn return to action on Tuesday when they face struggling Watford at Vicarage Road.

Hughes knows they will be feisty opponents but is confident his side can build on the emphatic victory against Manchester City last Saturday.

He said: 'Our performances away from home have been excellent. We have a good mix among our squad.

'However we have experience of going to teams who are struggling at the wrong end of the table and come a cropper.

'We don't want that to happen again. We are in better shape for this game than we were against Charlton and West Ham.

'Watford are a wounded animal and are difficult to break down.

'You have to keep going as they have great desire and great perseverance. Nobody has torn them to pieces.' Hughes is coming to terms with the loss of central defender Andre Ooijer for the remainder of the season.

The Dutch international had a successful operation after suffering a broken leg and damaging ankle ligaments in the victory at Manchester City.

Hughes said: 'It is a blow to us all. We are all disappointed for Andre. He has been a real influence for us both on and off the field. He has brought a winning mentality to the club and is a guy of great experience. We have been benefited from that.

'His day to day work has been excellent. He doesn't allow his standards or those around him to drop. The operation went well and once his body heals he will back.'

Meanwhile young strikers Matt Derbyshire and Paul Gallagher have signed new deals until 2010.

Hughes said: 'It is important to keep them at the club. They have shown a real desire to be part of the first team squad. They have done exceptionally well when called upon.

'I want the young players pushing the more senior members and I hope they continue to have the impact they are making at the moment.'




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