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By ESPN Staff

Kean: Seven cup finals await Rovers

Blackburn manager Steve Kean refuses to class Saturday's visit of fellow strugglers Birmingham as a "must-win'' match in their bid to avoid relegation.

With just seven games remaining and the club two points above the drop zone time is running out for teams to safeguard their future.

And despite home matches being an obvious strength for Rovers - they have lost seven of the last 40 at Ewood Park - Kean stressed they cannot afford to pin their hopes on beating the likes of Birmingham and Bolton, with both high-flying Manchester clubs also yet to make the trip to east Lancashire.

"They are all massive games,'' he said. "When you get to this stage of the season I don't think you can say Birmingham is any more important than Bolton or Arsenal (last week) because then you get into the tendency of writing games off.

"We've also got Everton, West Ham and Wolves - they are all important and we have to be careful not to minimise the importance of any of them.

"The players know how important each game is and see it as seven cup finals rather than two against Bolton and Birmingham.

"We must get something out of every single game and that is the mindset we must adopt.

"It could be the case we could be safe with two wins but what we have to do is add on.

"I think it is inches which is going to make the difference, not yards, because there is so little between the teams.

"We are two unbeaten at the moment and we have got a bit of momentum from fantastic effort from the lads.''

Having got what many considered a bonus point in the goalless draw at Arsenal last week, where they had midfielder Steven Nzonzi sent off, Kean wants to ensure his team are not distracted by that result.

Rovers are above Birmingham only on goal difference and with five of their last seven meetings having been settled by the odd goal Saturday's encounter is likely to be closely-contested.

"The squad is bright and bubbly because sometimes when you get a point at a place like the Emirates, where you have not done well for years, it almost feels like a win,'' the Rovers boss added.

"It is keeping that focus on the next game, taking the confidence from the game before but not becoming lethargic or thinking because you have had a very good result against a team going for the championship that the next one is automatic - it is very far from that.''

Not only will the teams on the pitch be close, the managers on the sidelines will be too.

Kean and Birmingham boss Alex McLeish both hail from Glasgow and their career paths have crossed many times already.

"I know Alex very well and I am sure he will have his team fired up,'' said the Rovers manager.

"The people from the East End of Glasgow tend to know each other and stay pretty tight.

"We have done all our coaching courses together at Largs in Scotland with the Scottish Football Association.

"He is a very good manager who has done a good job and has already won a trophy (the Carling Cup) this year.''

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