Rovers boss Allardyce tells Santa Cruz: You can go if you help us stay up

04 February 2009 11:36
Roque Santa Cruz has been told he can go to Manchester City in the summer - once he has led Blackburn Rovers

to Barclays Premier League safety.

Manager Sam Allardyce threw down a loaded challenge to the £20million-rated Paraguay striker yesterday when he called on him to 'claw us out of this mess' and save the club from making the inevitable job cuts relegation would bring.

Santa Cruz can leave at the end of the campaign if a rival club triggers the £15m release clause in the four-year contract he signed last August.



I want to break free: Santa Cruz can leave at the end of the season for £15m

Rovers dug their heels in by rejecting three bids from City as Allardyce decided survival prospects were better served with Santa Cruz in the team than money in the bank.

Allardyce said: 'It's fair to say it might well have been the case that Roque could have gone if we were in a better position. You cannot put a price on survival. If this club is relegated, the whole of the staff would have to be cut back, so there is a responsibility on me and the players to stop that happening.

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'Knowing you were almost there in terms of your Premier League status, you could think about where you might spend the money on a squad that needs strengthening - but that isn't the case.

'Instead we are fighting for our lives and the players know they shouldn't be down there. They all got themselves in this mess and they've all got to stay here and claw us out of it. There could be 40 per cent of the club's workforce made redundant if we go down and that would be absolutely devastating.

Loaded challenge: Sam Allardyce



'People who have worked here for a long time might be told that they don't have a job any more and that would be terrible for everybody. Relegation means redundancies and that's not what I came here for.'

Santa Cruz has managed three goals in 16 Premier League appearances this term. Allardyce also refused to jettison striker Jason Roberts and midfielder Aaron Mokoena in the transfer window.

'We'll deal with people's futures in the summer,' said Allardyce. 'Who stays and who goes should always be addressed then, not in January. There's a challenge here for everybody, whether you're going or staying in the summer. You have to perform to your best to get the best for you and the football club.

'Your best performances for Blackburn will help Blackburn get out of trouble. If those performances are monitored by somebody else and then you want to leave, then it helps you get away.'

Allardyce wants an instant return to form from Santa Cruz when Blackburn play Sunderland in an FA Cup fourth-round replay at Ewood Park tonight.

New signing El Hadji Diouf is cup-tied and misses out against the club he left amid further controversy last week. But with Allardyce eyeing a winnable clash with Championship side Coventry in the next round, he is determined to beat a Sunderland team Rovers have already faced four times this season.

He said: 'We have to make sure we don't waste those hard-fought 90 minutes we had at the Stadium of Light and get through to the next round against Coventry.'

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Source: Daily_Mail