Ince and Out?

The appointment of Paul Ince as Blackburn manager

A Football Report
Ince and Out?

The appointment of Paul Ince as Blackburn manager looks like setting off alarm bells for all Rovers supporters.

The Guvnor takes over from old Manchester United team mate Mark Hughes, and has a very tricky job on his hands. This is Ince's first crack at the big time following successful managerial spells at Macclesfield and MK Dons in the lower leagues, and he now faces arguably the toughest job of all three.

The first objective for the new manager is to try and keep the squad together. The talented trio of Brad Friedel, David Bentley and Roque Santa Cruz have all been linked with numerous top flight clubs and it would not surprise me if they did not start the season at Ewood Park.

Friedel played every minute of Premiership football for Blackburn last season and his exit would provide a big problem. He is currently one of the best premiership keepers and replacing him would be very difficult indeed. Then there is Bentley who has started to show his talent. His crossing ability and striking of the ball have been compared to a certain David Beckham. Losing him would mean losing your creative spark. And finally there is Roque Santa Cruz, whose debut season was outstanding. Mark Hughes spent 3.5 million on the Paraguayan who ended the season as 4th top goalscorer in the Premier League. His goals proved vital for Rovers last season.

The problem for Ince is attracting top players when the spine of his team could be taken away from under his feet. Blackburn's one and only signing does not breed much confidence. Robbie Fowler joining on a free from Cardiff City is not going to have Premiership defenders quaking in their boots, maybe ten years ago but those days have gone. Fowler was no doubt one of the best finishers in the game but I can not see him recapturing this form after all his injury problems.

Ince will need to add to his squad further and keep his top players if he is able to build on last year's 7th position. This meant that Rovers just missed out on a UEFA cup spot which now could have an after effect on their players staying and where they finish this time around.

The problem is a lot of teams have unlimited spending power through foreign investment and this could lead to Rovers finding themselves in a relegation dogfight. It is not too early to make this assumption as all the signs are there. An inexperienced manager and a team losing its top stars shows the guv'nor has the biggest challenge he has ever faced in his managerial career.

Written by Reiss Malone