STEVE Kean believes Gael Givet can play a key role in Blackburn Rovers’ relegation scrap – after rubbishing rumours he has been forced to pick his side partly around financial issues.
Givet returns to Rovers’ squad for this afternoon’s vital trip to West Bromwich Albion, having missed the last two games through a hamstring injury.
The Frenchman was only on the substitutes bench for the two Premier League games before that, after returning from suspension, sparking suggestions from sections of supporters ‘contractual issues’ were keeping him out.
Having already seen Jason Roberts and Michel Salgado frozen out of first team affairs at Ewood Park, due to clauses in their contracts that would have guaranteed them a new deal if they played a certain amount of games, it had been feared in some quarters there were other players affected by similar issues.
Kean has been reluctant to play the likes of Ruben Rochina and Simon Vukcevic for the past couple of months, even from the bench, but Kean has rubbished any suggestions contracts have had anything to do with his team selection.
Kean said: “There is not a thing in it. Gael Givet signed a contract last year and it was a fresh contract.
“There is no automatic extensions and that is not a factor why Gael is not playing.
“There is no truth in any of that. I was just about to bring David Dunn on at 0-0 against Manchester United and they scored.
“We felt the last few weeks the number of chances we are creating with the guys on the pitch, we will only look to change it if someone is struggling or we need a different dynamic. I felt against United we were still in it.
“Gael’s injury took longer to clear up. He is back, looking fresh and bright and it is always good to have a fit Gael Givet in the squad. He is the sort of character we want. He is a real warrior.
“You look at the competition we have all over the squad and it is great. We have had David Dunn on the bench, midfield players be aware.
“Formica, Rochina, everyone is looking fresh and sharp. People have to be right on it because the lads on the bench are chomping at the bit.”
Meanwhile, Rovers come up against former midfielder Keith Andrews at the Hawthorns this afternoon after the Republic of Ireland international quit Ewood in the summer.
Andrews opted to quit the club in favour of a short term deal at the Baggies, before launching an explosive attack on the Venky’s regime at Rovers.
He branded the club as “chaotic” and said Kean was not in charge of team selection but the Rovers boss insisted he still had full respect for Andrews.
He said: “I got on very well with Keith and have a lot of admiration for him as a player. He made it quite clear he had enjoyed playing week in and week out on loan at Ipswich and he wanted a fresh start and wanted to move on.”