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Thursday, January 29, 2009
Big Sam determined to block Santa Cruz exit

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has told Manchester City time has run out on their attempt to land Roque Santa Cruz.

The Paraguay striker continues to be linked with City, despite the fact they have yet to increase their offer since a 16million bid was rejected earlier this month.

Yet the feeling remains City boss Mark Hughes will test the water one more time before the transfer window shuts at 5pm on Monday, whilst Spurs might also make a late move.

Allardyce, though, maintains Santa Cruz is staying at Ewood Park, simply for the fact he would have no time to find a replacement.

"There is not the opportunity now to get the quality of striker we need to allow us to even consider letting Roque Santa Cruz move to Manchester City,'' remarked Allardyce.

"So for me, he stays, although I can't put it to bed completely until the deadline has passed.

"It's impossible, from any manager's point of view, to see what happens between now and then.

"But I certainly wish it was the third of February tomorrow.''

With Blackburn battling to beat the drop, Santa Cruz underlined his importance to Allardyce in last night's 2-2 draw at home to Bolton.

With Rovers trailing 2-0, the 27-year-old came off the bench just before the hour and certainly made an impact, playing his part in helping Blackburn to snatch a point.

"He came on and changed the dynamics of the game for us by the fact he is a very clever player,'' assessed Allardyce. "He is six foot four, yet has great touch and great control, and he also knows where to run to find space.

"He is a massive player for us, as we all know.''

Unlike Santa Cruz, fellow striker Matt Derbyshire is expendable, but only if Allardyce can find a replacement.

Greek side Olympiacos were yesterday claiming they had agreed a loan deal until the end of the season for the 22-year-old, only for Allardyce to claim they had jumped the gun.

"I'm happy to let him go, as long as I get somebody else in,'' confirmed Allardyce. "When a player tells you he wants a new experience, and he is not getting any first-team football, you listen.

"It's different to the situation with Roque because he will play virtually every week. So we'll see how it pans out, but it will only happen if there is a suitable replacement.

"If Matt does go there will certainly be one in, and if that player doesn't come in, then Matt doesn't go. So we're still looking to see if there is a player in the market of the right standard and quality for us.''

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