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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 1, 2006

Hughes places faith in new signing Nonda

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes believes Shabani Nonda will be a success at Ewood Park and is convinced the striker is over his long-term fitness problems.

Nonda, 29, was prolific for Monaco and reached the 2004 Champions League final with the French side but also suffered injury problems.

He had more injury concerns after a move to Italian side Roma and was signed by Hughes on loan on transfer-deadline day with a view to permanent deal.

'He's had injuries but he's fit and well,' Hughes said. 'He had an extensive medical before we committed to the deal - which he passed with flying colours - and he is really excited with the prospect of playing with us.

'Scoring goals is your bread and butter - that's what you're judged on - and throughout his career he's scored goals at every club he's been at, so we fully expect him to score goals for us.

'The mix of players and the different types of strikers I have augers well for the future.'

Nonda will compete with Benni McCarthy and Jason Roberts for a starting place, while Francis Jeffers and Paul Gallagher are other strikers on the books at Ewood Park.

Hughes, who allowed Shefki Kuqi to join Crystal Palace, feels Nonda has the attributes to perform in England, adding on Rovers World: 'He's got physical presence and he can withstand the aggressive side of the Premiership.

'He's got the pedigree and his ability is not in question - he's someone I'm really looking forward to working with. If we feel we want to make it a permanent deal then that option is open to us.'

Kuqi was a popular figure at Blackburn but Hughes, who spent much of the transfer window attempting to keep his players at the club, could not refuse Palace's offer.

'There were something like 10 or 11 clubs who expressed an interest and offered money for him,' Hughes said.

'It's been a difficult window, one of the hardest. A lot of the work has been to resist offers for our players and that's where a lot of our work - with the chairman and board - has been concentrated on.

'There has been a lot of interest, we've had to resist that and show the commitment we have here and what we can offer them. Thankfully we've done that.'

Rovers qualified for Europe last season but have yet to record victory in the current campaign, with a trip to Bramall Lane next week a chance to open their account after a point from three games.

'We've got significant games coming up,' Hughes added. 'We want to get back to winning ways against Sheffield United, it is an exciting time and hopefully we can now concentrate on the football.'

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