Hughes - McCarthy will score
Rovers boss believes striker will get back into the goal-scoring groove
Last Updated: January 2, 2008 2:06pm
McCarthy: Manager's backing
Blackburn manager Mark Hughes is backing striker Benni McCarthy to get back in the goals.
The South African has worryingly now not found the net in 10 games - in stark contrast to last season's scintillating form when he scored 18 goals in 36 matches following his £2.5million switch from Porto.
With McCarty enduring a goal drought, Blackburn have had to rely on team-mates Roque Santa Cruz and David Bentley, who have contributed 11 of the side's last 12 goals.
But Hughes says he is not alarmed by the dip in McCarthy's form, and wants others to help out with goals - starting against Sunderland in Wednesday night's clash at Ewood Park.
Hughes said: "Benni has shown good movement and good interplay with the rest of the team, and got himself in positions to score, and that's the key for Benni at the moment.
"We need a goal return from all areas of the team. Roque's doing great, David Bentley's chipping in with a few goals, and Benni will always score - it's only a matter of time.
"If we can add goals from other areas as well then we're going to be in a fine position."
Hughes is determined to keep playing Santa Cruz - despite niggling injuries - as he has scored eight goals in five matches to take his seasonal tally to 14.
"In fairness to him, he's got bags of ice all over his body at the moment," said Hughes.
"He's doing great and when a striker's scoring like that you want to play him every game so we'll keep patching him up.
"At some point we'll be able to give him a rest but when he's scoring, I don't think he wants to be out of the team."
While Hughes has a settled strike-force, it is the back-line which is causing him most concern.
He has been forced to make changes to his defence due to suspensions for Brett Emerton, Ryan Nelsen and Stephen Warnock, while Christopher Samba was also unavailable in the last game against Derby.
Hughes added: "If you look at the best defensive records in the league, invariably they will be with the teams that have a back four that's picked week in, week out.
"You have to have that stability and we haven't had that for various reasons.
"We've had players out through suspension and injury, and there's been different selections, so it's been difficult to get that defensive platform which is key to having that stability."