Roque will take the pain

Striker sets sights on glory

Santa Cruz: Confident

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Roque Santa Cruz is prepared to play through the pain barrier in order to fire Blackburn Rovers to glory.

The Paraguayan striker has been struggling with tendinitis in his knees, but he produced an impressive performance in Blackburn's 4-2 win over Reading on Saturday.

Santa Cruz had recently pulled out of his national squad as a result of the injury and was a fitness doubt for Rovers ahead of their meeting with Reading, but the striker insists he was right to put club before country.

"It was a very important game for us and we wanted to win so that is why I put everything into being ready for it," the former Bayern Munich ace told the Lancashire Telegraph.

Target

"Not to play in the national team was a real help for my knees and to score so quickly in the game was great for the team.

"I don't need injections - it is not as bad as that. It is bearable and I can put up with the situation so it should not be a problem to carry on playing.

"I am going to keep working on my movements and carry on in training and even if there is a little pain it is nothing I cannot handle."

Santa Cruz also believes Rovers have the capabilities to target UEFA Champions League qualification this season.

Determination

"Everything is possible in football if the determination is big enough in the team," Santa Cruz added.

"Of course there are great teams in the Premier League but a lot of the time it is about mentality and our team is willing to give it a try. We will do everything we can to make it happen."

Meanwhile, Rovers manager Mark Hughes has revealed that Ryan Nelsen, who has been out of action with a hamstring injury, only narrowly missed out on a place in his squad for the meeting with Reading.

"We have to be a little careful with Ryan, but the extra week will do him good," Hughes told Rovers' official website.