Hughes highlights Pedersen

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Mark Hughes believes the returning Morten Gamst Pedersen will be crucial to Blackburn's hopes of overcoming Bayer Leverkusen in the Uefa Cup on Thursday.

The hamstrung Pedersen missed Rovers' last three matches - including a 3-2 defeat at Leverkusen last week - and Hughes cannot wait to welcome back the in-form star.

Pedersen had scored six times in his previous seven appearances and his threat in the final third will be instrumental in Rovers' chances of overturning their first leg deficit.

"Morten is a strong, young man and his stamina is fantastic," said Hughes, who also expects to welcome back rested duo Benni McCarthy and Tugay for the clash.

"He runs further than anyone else in our team. When he is not there it is a loss to us.

"Morten is a goal threat from set plays and as good as anyone in the Premier League in that situation.

"He does a lot of work as well that goes un-noticed and it is important to get him back in the side."

Hughes believes his team are relishing the prospect of their Round of 32 tie.

"I will take 1-0 as that will see us through but I get the feeling the guys are really looking forward to the game," he added.

"It is up to us to take our chances. If we score first it will be very difficult for Leverkusen because then they will have to come out and we can hit them on the break.

"We have good attacking options and that has not been the case for a long time."