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Rovers in crisis talks in India
BLACKBURN Rovers directors Paul Agnew and Derek Shaw were last night holding crisis talks with Venky’s in India as the club put any coaching appointments on hold.
Operations director Agnew and managing director Shaw flew out to Pune yesterday and are voicing their concerns about a range of issues at Rovers, including the role of global advisor Shebby Singh, as well as pleading for the appointment of an experienced manager.
Rovers sacked boss Henning Berg and his backroom staff on Thursday after only 57 days in charge and were set to appoint Kevin MacDonald and Judan Ali as coaches yesterday.
But adverse reaction from fans, together with the ongoing meetings in India, have made the club delay any appointments.
Reserve team coaches Gary Bowyer and Colin Hendry took training yesterday, together with senior strength and conditioning coach Chris Rush, and it will be Bowyer who takes charge for today’s Championship fixture at Barnsley.
MacDonald and Ali are now waiting for the outcome of Agnew and Shaw’s discussions with Venky’s.
Agnew yesterday told the Lancashire Telegraph that they were both keen to hold talks with Rovers’ owners about the direction of the club.
He said: “We are very concerned about the situation and there are a lot of issues that need addressing with immediate effect.”
Sources in India, however, suggested that Venky’s had called the meeting and that the duo’s own positions at the club could be in doubt.
They met the owners last night and are scheduled to hold more talks this morning before flying back to England.
The duo’s visit to India meant they missed the club’s annual general meeting yesterday morning, when Robert Coar and Karen Silk were the only directors present.
Singh was also absent, instead spending the day at Brockhall where he met with the playing squad as well as with Ali, who has been at the club recently shadowing the coaching staff and has been lined up for a role at Rovers.
Singh also held talks with MacDonald on Thursday and both coaches are now waiting for confirmation that the club will go ahead with their appointments, after they were temporarily put on hold.
It is believed that the role discussed for former Aston Villa caretaker boss MacDonald was as head coach, with suggestions that he would be given the chance to stake his claim for the manager’s job while the search for Berg’s replacement is ongoing.
Rovers are also understood to be interested in bringing Jordan Rhodes’ father Andy as goalkeeping coach. The 48-year-old is currently working in a similar role at Sheffield Wednesday.
Bobby Mimms left his job as Rovers’ goalkeeping coach on Thursday and said yesterday: “I’d like to thank the fans for their magnificent support during my time at the club.
“I have great memories of the football club and I hope they get their rightful place back in the Premier League as soon as possible.”
Academy coaches Terry McPhillips and Tony Grant are due to assist Bowyer and Hendry with the first team at Barnsley today.
MacDonald remains the bookmakers’ favourite for the manager’s job on a permanent basis, with current player Nuno Gomes still among those under consideration.
In addition, Rovers are receiving applications for the vacancy with ex-Hull boss Phil Brown yesterday confirmed that he had sent the club his CV. Former Atletico Madrid manager Gregorio Manzano is also among those interested in the job.
And Singh yesterday denied reports that co-owner Balaji Rao had already decided on the club’s new boss.
“I can safely say that is not true, I have been on the phone with him,” Singh said.
Rovers’ global advisor also confirmed that Ali had not been appointed by the club, even though he was at Brockhall yesterday.
“He’s a guest of the club, there have been no appointments,” Singh said.
“We’ve got capable people, this club is well run. Gary Bowyer has been reserve team and under 21 manager for two years, he has been at the club for eight years.
“It’s been business as usual.”
About Berg’s exit, he said: "I don't regret getting Henning here. My only regret is that it didn't work out the way we would have liked it to.”
Asked if he would now opt for a more experienced boss, Singh added: "It all depends how you term experience.”
Venky’s have made one signing though with Balaji Rao yesterday holding a press conference with Ronaldinho in India to confirm that the Brazilian superstar has joined his company Bala Entertainment and will feature in an animation film.
Ronaldinho was a target for Rovers shortly after the poultry company’s arrival at Ewood Park, but the current partnership is unrelated to the football club.
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