Sam handles Dunn with care

Rovers boss wary of pushing playmaker too hard

Dunn: Has shone this season

Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce admits he has had to adopt a cautious approach when it comes to David Dunn's fitness.

The midfielder has a chequered history when it comes to injury, forcing him to spend more time on the sidelines than he would have liked.

He remains a determined character, though, and is still capable of holding his own at the highest level when able to steer clear of the treatment table for prolonged periods.

The 30-year-old playmaker has looked somewhere close to his best again this season, with 23 starts yielding an impressive 10 goals.

Allardyce is delighted with Dunn's contribution over the course of the 2009/10 campaign, but admits he needs to handle the combative one-cap England international with care in order to prevent him from doing damage to himself.

"He has had only 23 starts so he is just under scoring one in two, which surprises me," said the Rovers boss.

"Just think how many goals he would have got for us had he stayed fit.

"We could have had Dunny getting up to the realms of scoring 12 to 15 goals and that might have made the difference (between being mid-table and inside the top 10).

Scary

"He scored the goal at Bolton (on 22nd November) which helped us to our first victory away from home and then we lost him for long periods of time.

"We didn't score in another away game until his penalty at Burnley (on 23rd March).

"If you think in between that what he might have done for us it is quite scary."

Allardyce added: "I've found the right position for him.

"We try to keep Dunny off the training ground for certain periods of time when he wants to be on the training round.

"I tell him it's no good training to get injured. You train to stay fit for selection at a weekend.

"That might mean spending a little bit more time with the boys in the rehab area or the prevention area with the sport scientists because they've known Dunny for a long period of time and know what he needs.

"They probably know better than him because he always wants to go out and train and not always is that the right thing to do."