The crisis at Blackburn deepened today as manager Steve Kean came under heavy fire once again.
The beleaguered boss – who has been tipped to be replaced by Rovers legend Alan Shearer – is already fighting to save his job with Rovers stuck in the drop zone going into Tuesday’s crunch match against relegation rivals Bolton.
Now he has been struck by the news that key defender Scott Dann is out until February.
And picking up the local paper would have hardly made Kean feel better as the Lancashire Evening Telegraph ran a front page editorial calling for him to go.
Kean, who spoke on Monday morning at a press conference, insists he will continue to fight for his future despite the mounting pressure and the imminent six-pointer that may decide his future.
He said: ‘I have spoken with the owners for 45 minutes yesterday. There was no suggestion of an ultimatum. We had a real good conversation.
‘We are looking forward to the transfer window opening so we can try and get a couple in who can hit the ground running and make an impact.
‘There is pressure tomorrow but we have to enjoy it. From the first minute there will be pressure. You have to show courage to accept it.’
Sack Kean and sack him now was the impassioned plea calling on Blackburn owners Venky’s to act before it becomes too late to salvage the club’s perilous season from an influential local paper.
Rovers suffered their 10th defeat of the season after conceding an 89th-minute goal in the home reversal to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The result left them just point above bottom side Bolton and four points from safety heading into the busy Christmas schedule.
The club face Owen Coyle’s strugglers on Tuesday night with the losing manager likely to lose his job, but the Lancashire Evening Telegraph has urged the club’s Indian owners to act before the match.
The paper said: ‘Saturday’s humiliating home defeat to West Bromwich Albion was the last straw following a disastrous run of results stretching back months.
‘If Rovers do manage to pull off a positive result against Bolton, in our view, further procrastination could take place and that would be wrong because we believe the club has passed the point of no return.
‘It is now surely clear that Kean has to go and one good result shouldn’t be enough to save him.
‘We are also calling for owners Venky’s to start running the club the way it deserves to be run or to put Blackburn Rovers up for sale if they are not prepared to protect its proud tradition.’
Kean took the reins after the club sacked Sam Allardyce last December. The Scotsman was the club’s first-team coach before taking the step up to managing the senior side.
The Lancashire Evening Telegraph believes the job came too soon for Kean and that Venky’s were also to blame for not offering him the level of support he required.
‘Kean’s record of just seven wins from 37 league games tells its own story and, with managers ultimately judged on results, Venky’s have to take decisive action and change the manager now,’ the paper said.
‘They threw a managerial novice in at the deep end and have systematically failed to provide him with the support, investment and suitable structure, to turn their undoubted gamble into a success.’
Alan Shearer is the front-runner to take over as Blackburn manager as owners Venky’s consider ending Kean’s tenure in charge.
Shearer hasn’t returned to management after a brief spell in charge of another former club, Newcastle, at the end of 2008-2009 season.
Sportsmail understands Shearer is interested in taking the reins, despite Blackburn’s perilous position near the foot of the Barclays Premier League and the likelihood that he would have only a modest budget in the January transfer window.
As Venky’s consider their options, they may well be swayed by Shearer’s standing among Ewood Park patrons after he spearheaded Blackburn’s title success in 1995.
Kean is reeling from another body blow after confirming defender Scott Dann will be out for six weeks with a groin injury.
‘We have suffered another blow because Scott Dann is out for six weeks,’ said Kean. ‘He will have groin surgery.
‘When you add that to Gael Givet, Ryan Nelsen and Michel Salgado, we are losing defenders at the moment, which is tough. But we have to face it up and crack on, although that is a tough one to take.’
The one piece of good news for Kean is the return of Junior Hoilett after a hamstring injury.
And Kean confirmed Gael Givet might be back in a fortnight after it has been decided he would have a procedure to rectify his irregular heartbeat.
‘Gael is going to have a procedure,’ said Kean. ‘He was in training yesterday and seemed quite well in himself. But it is something you have to take very seriously when his heartbeat goes up to 300 beats a minute.
‘He had it once before in France. He also had it 18 months ago in training. But it has moved to a different chamber in the heart. It is a small procedure. He should be back within two or three weeks.’