Blackburn vs Bolton preview - Jones would cost massive fee - Kean

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Posted Saturday, April 30, 2011 by PA

Any club interested in Blackburn's brilliant young defender Phil Jones will have to pay a "massive fee" if they want to land the 18-year-old, Rovers manager Steve Kean has warned.

Jones has already attracted interest from Arsenal and Manchester United while Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish was at Ewood Park on Monday to see another superb performance from England Under-21 star.

Jones, likened to a young John Terry "but better" by Spanish team-mate Michel Salgado, signed a new five-year deal with Blackburn earlier this season and Kean hopes his plans for new signings will persuade the teenager that his future lies with his local club.

Kean said: "It's going to be difficult for Phil but we are confident. This is where he started, where he got his first chance and we believe we have rewarded him very well.

"He wants to play as high up the league as everybody else does and he's a star in the making.

"He's on a five-year contract and if we can sit down at the end of the season and discuss what players we are trying to bring into the club then hopefully we can keep the big hitters away.

"We want to sit down with all the younger ones and explain what we want to do as a club over the next two, three or four years and if they stay with us they are going to part of that story.

"If they decide they want to move on then the clubs concerned will have to pay top dollar because they are under very, very long contracts and the fees we would be demanding would be massive."

The key to any discussions will be Blackburn avoiding relegation, and the visit of Bolton on Saturday has now assumed an importance of gigantic proportions.

A return of just four points out of a possible 30 in the last 10 league matches tells its own story and victory on Saturday is a must given that Rovers' remaining games after that are home to Manchester United and away at relegation rivals West Ham and Wolves.

Kean added: "A win against Bolton would lift us into a very good position. It wouldn't be done and dusted but it would be a massive step forward in taking us a step closer to being where we want to be."

Steven Nzonzi is back from suspension for Blackburn when Bolton visit on Saturday but striker Junior Hoilett remains 50-50 with a hamstring problem.

Blackburn's struggles to find goals will not be helped by doubts over Roque Santa Cruz (hamstring) while midfielder David Dunn misses out with a calf injury.

Bolton manager Owen Coyle insists mental fatigue cannot be allowed to derail their season in the final few weeks of the campaign.

Having had their FA Cup dreams shattered with the 5-0 semi-final defeat by Stoke, the team picked themselves up to beat Arsenal last weekend but then lost disappointingly at Fulham in midweek.

That defeat ended any outside chance Wanderers had of sneaking into European qualification, and Coyle is keen not to allow months of hard work go to waste in the final few matches.

"There is no doubt, given how hard the players have worked since pre-season, that physical and mental fatigue play a part," he said.

"It absolutely comes in but you have to be strong and give everything you can and recognise there are four games to go, and we have to make sure whoever is asked to play gives everything they can.

"The margins are so fine and when you have that lack of concentration for any given moment you can be punished - it happened the other night at Fulham - so we have to make sure we address that.

"We have to make sure the group we have fit and available give everything they can to win the next game.

"We don't want the season to peter away in the last few weeks after giving everything we have this season.

"We are sitting eighth in the league, having had a great season, and we want to finish it strongly."

On-loan Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge, scorer of seven goals in nine matches, is a doubt for Saturday with an ankle injury which forced him to miss the midweek defeat at Fulham.

Full-back Gretar Steinsson's knee problem sustained at Craven Cottage rules him out of the clash.

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