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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
By ESPN Staff

Sam considered Kuranyi as Roque replacement

Sam Allardyce has admitted having considered German striker Kevin Kuranyi as a possible replacement for Roque Santa Cruz.

Manchester City's interest in Santa Cruz caused the Blackburn Rovers boss to weigh up possible alternatives - but insists he has not given any thought to signing Brazil-born Kuranyi, who plays in Germany for Schalke, in the summer.

Allardyce confirmed Kuranyi had been in his thoughts but added: "I've not even thought about the summertime.

"I've got to make sure we secure our Premier League status first before we even think about what's going to happen in the summer, so we can't plan for that yet until we know where we are."

Santa Cruz is likely to start in the FA Cup fourth round replay against Sunderland tonight, but Allardyce said he will rest a number of first-team regulars.

Irish midfielder Keith Treacy, a young player who Allardyce rates highly, is in line for a start, as are Aaron Mokoena, Zurab Khizanishvili and Danny Simpson.

Allardyce said: "I will change a few things and this is where a strong squad is so important.

"We want to beat Sunderland, make no mistake about that, and I will select a team capable of doing that.

"But we also have an obligation to look at the bigger picture and our main priority is to keep Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League."

Allardyce also revealed there had been enquiries for several other unnamed Blackburn players who were keen to go but he refused to countenance their sale.

He added: "There was a few more enquiries about players as well as Roque, but more on the fringe, who wanted to go but we have resisted that. These players have an obligation to stay at Blackburn and get us out of the trouble we are in.

"The bottom line is that they are as much to blame as everybody else so we have all got to pull together to secure Premier League status."


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