Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Premiership Season Preview 2006/07 – Blackburn Rovers

Blackburn Rovers

Odds: 350/1

Last Five Seasons

2005/06 – 6 (Premiership), 2004/05 – 15 (Premiership), 2003/04 – 15 (Premiership), 03/03/2002 (Premiership), 10/02/2001 (Premiership).

2005/06 Cup Progress

FA Cup Fourth Round vs West Ham United (a) – lost 4-2.

Carling Cup Semi Finals vs Manchester United – lost 3-2 on aggregate.

Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Craig Bellamy (striker) – 17 goals.

Players In

Benni McCarthy (FC Porto – £ 2,500,000), Jason Roberts (Wigan Athletic – Undisclosed), Zura Khizanishvili (Rangers – Free), Francis Jeffers (Charlton Athletic – Free), Jason Brown (Gillingham – Free).

Players Out

Craig Bellamy (Liverpool – £ 6,000,000), Paul Dickov (Manchester City – Free), Gary Harkins (Grimsby Town – Free), Lorenzo Amoruso (Released), Vratislav Gresko (Released), Steven Drench (Released).

Blackburn Rovers were the Premier League's surprise package last season by securing a sixth placed finish following two seasons just above the relegation zone. Mark Hughes transformed the underachieving former champions and got the best out of bad boy Craig Bellamy, who finished the season as the club's top goal scorer.

Bellamy's outstanding form did not go unnoticed and Liverpool snapped him up for a bargain £ 6 million but Hughes has been quick to sign replacement attacking options. Porto striker Benni McCarthy arrived for an undisclosed fee believed to be £ 2.5 million. The South Africa international was art of the Porto side that won the Champions League in 2004 and signed a four year contract at Ewood Park. McCarthy has won 60 caps for South Africa and has scored 26 goals. He retired from international football after the World Cup in 2002 but reversed his decision two years later.

Wigan Athletic striker Jason Roberts also signed a four year deal, again for an undisclosed fee. Roberts was Wigan's top scorer last season with 14 goals and Hughes swooped after he turned down a new contract to extend his stay with the Latics.

Francis Jeffers completed a hat-trick of new strikers arriving at the club this summer, with the former Everton and Arsenal forward joining on a free transfer from Charlton Athletic. Hughes has also been linked with Nicolas Anelka, who has Premiership experience with Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City and Mido, who spent 18 months on loan at Tottenham Hotspur from Serie A side AS Roma.

Verdict

Blackburn's involvement in the UEFA Cup next season will add strain to Mark Hughes' squad which still lacks some strength in depth. It is unlikely that they will be able to recreate last season's sixth placed finish and mid table is more likely should they progress to the later stages in Europe.

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Chijioke Ejiogu: Complete Profile of Arugo Monkey

Chijioke Ejiogu: Complete Profile of Arugo Monkey

Chijioke Ejiogu: Complete Profile of Arugo Monkey

Goalkeeper Chijioke Ejiogu is the number one goal tender for Double CAF Champions league winners- Enyimba Football club of Aba. He is one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the Nigeria Premier league. His dexterity between the goalpost while playing for amateur side- Arugo F.C in the late 1990’s during the F.A Cup Competition have earned him the nickname- Arugo Monkey.

Monkeys are one of the most acrobatic animals in the jungle, and they have the ability to jump from one tree to the other with so much ease and skill. These were the exact qualities that Chijioke Ejiogu displayed during the F.A Cup competition more than 15 years ago while starring for Arugo F.C.

He was quickly snapped up by Julius Berger F.C of Lagos immediately after his F.A Cup heroics, and helped the Bridge Boys to the final of the CAF Confederation Cup. His agility behind the post was soon noticed by the management of Enyimba F.C and he soon put pen to paper for the peoples Elephant in the 2008-2009 season.

The confidence he displays in organizing his defence line is quite amazing, considering the fact that football has become so competitive and tactical. One of the qualities that distinguish a good goalkeeper from a bad one is the ability to anticipate and deal with aerial balls and this is one of the strong points of Chijioke Ejiogu.

He has been invited to the national senior team on several occasions during the reign of Coach Christian Chukwu as Chief Coach of the Super Eagles, but on each occasion, luck has not been on his side. The desire to excel in the local league to enhance future call-ups has always been his main motivation, and this has seen him emerging as one of the stars in the star-studded Enyimba Football club.

Arugo Monkey has become a veteran of sort in the Nigeria Premier league and with each passing season, he has shown more maturity and better composure between the posts to the admiration of his fans all over the country. His acrobatic saves and daring maneuvers in front of strikers have earned him a place among the best Local league players.

It is hoped that the coming years will witness a change in the fortune of this charismatic goalkeeper who has paid his dues in the Nigeria Premier league in the past 10 years. His chances of putting on the green white green colors of the Super Eagles have been made a lot easier with the appointment of an indigenous Coach for National senior team in the person of Coach Samson Siasia in December 2010.

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