Allardyce - Hard season ahead
Blackburn manager Sam Allardyce is not getting carried away with expectations for the new Premier League season. Rovers have been hit by the loss of many first-team regulars over the summer, including the departure of star striker Roque Santa Cruz to Manchester City. Allardyce says that such players will be hard to replace and realises that challenging for a European place is likely to be beyond his side. "A lot of players left here as well as Roque Santa Cruz this year," Allardyce said. "Matt Derbyshire, Tugay, Andre Ooijer, Aaron Mokoena, Carlos Villanueva, then Danny Simpson going back. "We've lost a huge amount of players and not too many people have printed that, but it's a big ask to replace all those and get better. "We hope we have but we won't really know until the season gets under way." Despite the depletion of his squad, the former Bolton boss is aiming to improve on the previous campaign's 15th place finish, when Rovers only ensured their Premier League safety late in the season. If Allardyce gets the requested improvement from every one of his players, he thinks that a top-half finish could be on the cards. "The ambition is for each player to improve in his game by one per cent. I think if every individual does that then we will be in mid-table or the top half, so I'm not asking a great deal," he added. "If everyone does that and you times it by 38 games then you are really going to get where you want to go. "We've set realistic targets and we've spoken to the players about those targets, we've focused their goals on what they want to achieve, and we want to do it as a team. "If we get all that right, and the attitude and team spirit, we'll be fit enough to compete with anybody in this league. That in itself will bring us more wins than defeats this season."
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