Neill will only leave 'if deals suit Rovers' - Hughes

December 29, 2006

Mark Hughes has confirmed Lucas Neill will be allowed to leave Blackburn next month only if the deal is 'right' for Rovers.

Neill is out of contract in the summer and Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is believed to be ready to follow up a summer bid for the Australia World Cup star by making another move when the transfer window opens on Monday.

Spanish giants Barcelona are also thought to be monitoring Neill's progress.

However, an Ewood Park exit is far from certain for the 28-year-old full-back, with Hughes restating his intention to keep Neill unless he believes Rovers will benefit.

'The situation with Lucas has been well documented,' said Hughes.

'Lucas may go if we can do a deal that will allow Blackburn to remain strong. If it is not right for us, he will stay.'

Although the odds appear to be stacked against Neill remaining at Rovers beyond the summer, Hughes has not entirely given up hope of persuading the Sydney-born player to stay.

'Things change very quickly in football,' he said.

'Who is to say Lucas won't still be here in the summer and if that situation arises, I will be doing my best to convince him to stay.'

Hughes is realistic enough about the situation to be looking at options and declared himself 'satisfied' with Ukrainian defender Andriy Nesmachniy, who has just completed a two-week trial.

Meanwhile, Hughes claims Rovers deserve credit for slashing prices for Saturday's game.

Adult tickets have been reduced to £15, with children gaining admission for just £5 as Blackburn try to boost flagging attendances.

A similar initiative met with some success when Bolton came to Ewood earlier in the campaign and Hughes is hoping for a similar turn-out to the 29,000 who saw his side beat Liverpool on Tuesday.

'We should be congratulated for trying to get more people through the gate,' he said.

'We understand it is an expensive time of year for families but we have just had our biggest crowd of the season and if we could get something similar tomorrow, I would be delighted.'