Hughes praise for Dunn

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Mark Hughes has hailed the performances of David Dunn as instrumental in Blackburn's pursuit of a second successive European qualification.

Sunday's 2-1 win at Lancashire rivals Bolton - a match in which Dunn played the full 90 minutes - saw Rovers move to within three points of sixth-placed Everton.

Hughes's squad has been stretched by injuries but the involvement of January signing Dunn has provided Rovers with ample compensation.

Hughes admits he was careful to reintroduce Dunn to regular first team football following an injury-ravaged spell at Birmingham and believes the club are now reaping the rewards.

"David looked strong towards the end [against Bolton] and that was reassuring because you might expect his energy levels to drop. But we have done it in the correct way with David," said Hughes.

"We were conscious that we didn't want to give him too many games too quickly. We exposed him to it then we took him back out, but now I think he looks stronger every time he plays."

Hughes gave his players a target of eight wins from the remaining 11 games to clinch a Uefa Cup place via the league and have since recorded back-to-back victories over Portsmouth and Bolton.

"We have got nine games left and a couple of weeks ago I said I wanted eight wins from 11. I certainly think it is do-able," added Hughes.

"I think we are better when we have targets. Some people might think they are unrealistic but we set the same targets last year and we hit them.

"It is a big ask but we are very much in with a shout for a European position. Given the injuries we have had I think it is remarkable that we find ourselves in this position."