Blackburn Rovers manager Michael Appleton has raised doubts over Danny Murphy's long-term future at Ewood Park after stripping him of the club captaincy.
Murphy, 35, arrived at Blackburn last summer after being brought in by Steve Kean on a two-year deal. The midfielder has had a frustrating season, however, recently losing his place the first-team squad.
The former Liverpool man has failed to make the squad for Blackburn’s last two games and Appleton installed Scott Dann as the the club’s new skipper before their FA Cup clash with Millwall on Sunday.
“I had an honest conversation with Murph and just explained to him that I want to move the football club forward, I want to think about the future of the football club,'' Appleton said.
“I explained that I was going to make Scott the new captain because I think he's someone who leads by example. It was a difficult decision to make but I think it's one that's going to benefit everyone at the football club. Danny took it very professionally, as I expected him to do.''
Murphy has recently been linked with a return to former club Fulham in a coaching capacity. Appleton admits to being unaware of any truth behind those rumours, but says the ex-England international faces a tough task in getting back into the Blackburn team.
“From a short-term point of view I'm going to be working with the players that I have been over the last couple of games and that won't change,'' he said. “Once we get Wednesday's game out of the way, we've got two or three faces coming back in from being cup tied for the Burnley game (on Sunday).
“Regarding the long-term, those are conversations that we need to have between myself, Danny and everyone at the club.''
Appleton added: “I'm sure that people will be surmising about their being a rift there and a rift here - it really isn't the fact.''