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Garner: It's business as usual for Rovers players
SIMON Garner believes the continuing uncertainty over Steve Kean’s future will not affect the Blackburn Rovers squad at Charlton tomorrow.
Rovers return to Championship action at the Valley after a week of confusion that has seen Kean move to the brink of the sack, only for Venky’s to delay the decision to relieve him of his duties.
The Scot currently seems likely to remain in charge for the trip to Charlton, when Rovers will bid to secure three important points in their quest for promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt.
Garner believes the situation has now reached a point where Kean must be replaced, with fans staying away from home games in large numbers in protest at the manager’s continued presence at the club.
But the Rovers legend insists that this week’s turmoil will have little impact on how the team perform tomorrow afternoon.
“I think the players are used to it now, it has gone on for so long,” he said.
“I think as soon as all this happened again, they will have switched off from it.
“Once you go on to the pitch on a Saturday, all you are thinking about is getting three points and getting on with playing football. They have got to just concentrate on that.
“It is an important game because promotion is so important this season.
“They know they have to get back up first time because of the money in the Premier League.
“If they don’t, it will be an awful lot harder next season.”
Rovers still sit third in the Championship table but a 2-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough seven days ago saw fans vent their fury at Kean once more, with the boss growing increasingly unpopular during his 20-month reign.
And Garner feels that the drop in attendances this season is the biggest reason why the manager has to be changed.
Rovers are currently averaging crowds of only 13,418 – the fifth lowest in the Championship – and more supporters are threatening to boycott the club’s next home game against Wolves on October 6 if Kean is still in charge.
“I think it’s clear that the situation is never going to change while Steve Kean is here,” he said.
“This has been going on for 12 to 18 months now.
“It’s got to a point where they have to say, ‘Sorry Steve, you’ve done a job but the fans won’t come to the games while you’re here so we have to make a change’.
“Last season you could certainly have said it was for football reasons.
“At the moment you could argue it wouldn’t be for football reasons because they have got results, but it would be for financial reasons because fans aren’t coming to the games.
“You can’t be top of the table and getting gates of 12,000 or 13,000.
“It’s clear that they could be top of the league and winning every game 5-0 and a lot of fans still wouldn’t turn up. The club would still be losing revenue.
“Blackburn is a small club that cannot afford to be in that situation.”
Venky’s are understood to have targeted Tottenham coach Tim Sherwood, who was captain of the Rovers team that won the Premier League in 1995, as the ideal replacement.
And another ex-Rovers player, Stephane Henchoz, insists the owners are to blame for the current situation.
"Before they were relegated they should have replaced Kean,” said the former Swiss international.
“For some reason, which is very strange, they always supported him. With this outcome, they are relegated.
“I think that Blackburn Rovers have been in a mess since Venky’s took over. I think the biggest problem is Venky’s.
“I think Blackburn Rovers are a good club and I think Venky’s have just messed it up.”
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