STEVE Kean insists Blackburn Rovers’ forgotten duo are still in his thoughts after backing both to grab their chance when it next comes along.

Former Barcelona B striker Ruben Rochina and Montenegrin international Simon Vukcevic have found themselves on the fringes of the first team squad in recent months, but Kean is adamant both still have a part to play at the club.

Rochina, who was signed by Kean for in the region of £500,000 in January 2011, became a fans’ favourite at Ewood Park after an impressive start to the season but hasn’t started a Premier League game since the 3-2 win at Old Trafford on New Year’s Eve.

The 20-year-old has even been left out of the squad entirely over the last two games, sparking rumours of his unrest having made just nine league starts this season.

Kean signed Vukcevic from Sporting Lisbon for an estimated £2million in August but, despite a couple of impressive cameos, has been restricted to just four league starts and three substitute appearances.

The 26-year-old has been an unused substitute for the last 10 league games, last making an appearance on December 26, raising questions among supporters over his lack of involvement.

Boss Kean said: “They are in competition with other lads who are playing very well at the moment. I think Formica has played very well wide, Marcus Olsson has come in and had an impact.

“Junior Hoilett when he plays wide left is going to make it difficult for anybody to get in the side. I think Junior is a match winner for us.

“He is going to play somewhere for us so that makes it difficult for Simon. Simon has trained really well and I am sure if selected or comes on, he will do well. He has been training really well and is pushing hard.

“Simon is ready to take his chance when he gets it but at the moment there is that competition for places and he knows that.

“All he can do is keep doing what he has been doing and when gets his chance I have no doubt he will ready to take it.”

Reports have emerged that Rochina will be looking for an Ewood exit this summer if he continues remain on the periphery of the club’s relegation scrap.

Kean though insists Rochina is still very much committed to the cause and expects him to play a role in the coming months.

“It is harder for Ruben because he was in a position where he was in the side and then he came out and lost a little bit of match fitness,” said Kean.

“I had a long chat with him and he is still positive and on his way up again. Both players are ready and want to be a part of things.”

Rovers’ squad are spending a few days away on a team bonding trip in Harrogate.