Big Sam: Rovers short on firepower

Although a move to West Ham had been on the cards for some time,

Benni McCarthy’s eventual transfer to Upton Park was not completed

until Monday due to complications over a work permit. With a

satisfactory fee for the for the 32-year-old South African finally

secured Allardyce then swiftly went about trying to reinvest the

money in a forward to take McCarthy’s place. But once his initial

target, Manchester City striker Benjani Mwaruwari, had chosen to

join Sunderland on loan rather than sign up at Ewood Park, there

was not enough time for Allardyce to seal a deal for Aruna Dindane

before the window closed. The manager revealed that Dindane, who

has been on loan at Portsmouth from Lens this season, had even

completed his medical at Blackburn’s Brockhall training complex on

Monday but had to be turned away at five o’clock as the paperwork

had not been finalised. “If I was Benni – as a player at his age –

I’d want to go as well, so I’ve got no problems with that and in

the end I’ve got no problems with the price that we got,” Allardyce

said. “The biggest problem for us is that we didn’t get anyone in

to replace him. “We tried to sign Benjani on a full-time basis but

the work permit was a big problem, getting it through on time. Then

it could only become a loan scenario. “He wasn’t the only player we

went for – we went for many players before that but couldn’t get it

to a conclusion. Because Benni’s transfer was so late, it was

virtually impossible for us to secure one of the players that we

had our eye on from abroad. “So we finally ended up with Benjani,

and he ended up going for Sunderland rather than us. “We had to try

and move quickly, because that decision was late on Monday, to try

and get Aruna Dindane in and unfortunately, even though he was in

the building right the way up to five o’clock, we couldn’t get it

through. We didn’t have enough time to finish the paperwork. “He

was in the building, he had done the medical and we were trying to

get a bit of leeway from the Premier League, but they wouldn’t see

fit to do anything for us. So when five o’clock came we just had to

say, ‘I’m very sorry, it hasn’t happened’.” Having been ultimately

defeated by what he calls a “jackass” of a transfer system,

Allardyce – whose team travel to Stoke this weekend in the Premier

League – now has only Nikola Kalinic, Jason Roberts and Franco Di

Santo left in his squad as recognised strikers. The manager admits

the weight of expectation upon the trio has been increased by

McCarthy’s departure, but he is also hoping to see further

contributions from some of his midfielders and defenders who have

already chipped in with goals this season. “We are short of goals

so the responsibility lies with those boys (up front) converting

more,” Allardyce said. “The level of goals from midfield has to be

another area we look at where we say, ‘where do we get our goals –

the majority from our strike-force, but where else?’ “That lies

with midfield players like (David) Dunn, who got five in 10 in the

early part of the season, and Morten (Gamst Pedersen) who has three

in the last four (league games). Ryan Nelsen has three goals this

year. “So that is what we have to add to, as well as the front men

adding to their total. Everybody in midfield and some of the big

lads at the back on set-pieces have to notch one or two more.”

Allardyce did manage to bring in Stuttgart midfielder Yildiray

Basturk during the window on loan, but the Turkey international is

unlikely to feature against Stoke as he is not yet match fit.