Benni is not for sale

BLACKBURN - South African striker Benni McCarthy has been told he is not for sale despite being dropped by Blackburn manager Mark Hughes.

BLACKBURN - South African striker Benni McCarthy has been told he is not for sale despite being dropped by Blackburn manager Mark Hughes.

McCarthy spent Blackburn's last three matches on the substitutes' bench after going nine games without a goal, sparking speculation he would be allowed to leave in the January transfer window.

But Hughes insists he won't listen to any offers for the former Porto star, who was the team's top scorer with 24 goals last season.

"There is no chance of that because the price I would get for Benni wouldn't allow me to replace him with a player of the same ability," Hughes said. "I would find it very difficult to justify letting him go under any circumstances."

Hughes is keen to keep McCarthy because he believes he will recapture last season's prolific form.

"Benni's had a spell where his form was a bit inconsistent but he still comes in with a smile," Hughes said.

"He's working hard but I've picked sides without him because I felt the players in form needed to play.

"Benni has been an outstanding player for us for 18 months. He's been lacking a bit of form but I just sense he is getting back to somewhere near where he needs to be and he's more likely to be involved." - Sapa-AFP

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