Allardyce starts striker search
Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Birmingham means Rovers are 14 points clear of the relegation zone, and in a relative position of safety. It would now take a season-ending catastrophe for Blackburn to be sucked into the bottom three, leaving Allardyce free to turn his eye towards the next transfer window, knowing he needs another forward. Allardyce attempted but failed to sign Aruna Dindane and Benjani at the end of the January window after allowing Benni McCarthy to move to West Ham for around £2.5million. Although Nikola Kalinic has progressed admirably in his first year following a £6million move from Hadjuk Split last summer, the 22-year-old has only managed seven goals and is still green. It means Allardyce will now look to secure a seasoned striker, with the lure the club are almost certainly playing top-flight football again next season. "Yes, the priority is another striker," confirmed Allardyce. "We've always been short of one thing this season, and that's goals. "Had we got more goals, it would have been the final element to an absolutely outstanding season, although up until now it's still a very good one. "So we are doing some planning, yes, even though mathematically we're not safe. "After beating Bolton 3-0 we were all talking about the fact we had put a 10-point gap between ourselves and third from bottom. "Four games have gone on and we're 14 points clear now, which means we are highly unlikely - although there's still a possibility - of losing seven games on the trot. "Equally it's highly unlikely - but again a possibility - that some other team will win six or seven games on the trot to drag us into the bottom three." Allardyce's immediate over-riding priority, however, is Sunday's derby with bitter rivals Burnley, at which there is likely to be a caustic atmosphere given the animosity between the two sides. It is the kind of game Allardyce loathes, admitting: "I don't like them, I never have done. "I've always said the pleasure of my job is Monday to Friday, not a match day, and when derbies come around there's less of a pleasure for fear of losing. "That's the last thing you want because it makes the rest of the week so much more depressing, so much miserable. "Local derbies are also always more intense, ferocious, and this one is obviously that. "We all know that from the first game at Ewood Park quite a few months ago now. "Local derbies for a manager mean the feelings when you wake up in the morning, and the tension in your stomach, are not the best. "You are apprehensive, and you want to make sure your team goes out and plays its very, very best in an attempt to win for the fans. "So it's about controlling that tension and using it in a positive manner." Another concern for Allardyce is his team's away record as Rovers have taken just six points on their travels this season, losing 11 of 15 games. "Hopefully we can start getting a result away, rather than just producing a good performance," added Allardyce. "There would be no better place for our fans to see us do that than at Turf Moor on Sunday." Allardyce has four players back in contention as captain Ryan Nelsen, Gael Givet, Lars Jacobsen and Vince Grella have all recovered from their recent injury problems. Allardyce, though, is still without goalkeeper Paul Robinson with a calf injury, while January signing Yildiray Basturk - who has yet to figure since his arrival - is out with a hamstring problem.