Cup dream is Best aim for Blackburn Rovers
LEON Best is dreaming of ending his 13-month injury hell in style by firing Blackburn Rovers into an FA Cup semi final at Wembley.
Rovers’ summer signing will make his full debut for the club in tomorrow’s quarter final at Championship rivals Millwall, having not played since last February due to injury.
The 26-year-old had just recovered from a medial ligament injury when he moved to Ewood Park in the summer for circa £3million but, after just a couple of pre-season friendlies, he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury.
Now, having played his first 10 minutes for Rovers in a substitute cameo on Tuesday night, Best is relishing the opportunity of making his full bow on the big stage.
He said: “The result didn’t go our way on Tuesday but to be back amongst it was brilliant.
“The time out “has made me realise what a good job we have got and how much we need to appreciate it.
“I am just delighted to be back fit and playing now. The last game I started was Aston Villa at home for Newcastle in January 2012. It has been a long time.
“It is a massive game to be coming back for and I’m lucky it is a game like this I am back for. Hopefully we are all up for it and do the right things and get to Wembley.
“Even when I came on the other night, the Blackburn fans were showing me a lot of love, that gave me a lift as well. The fact I haven’t played for the club yet and they rate me enough to be cheering is another lift for me.
“Jordan Rhodes has been doing very well and scored a lot of goals. I look forward to playing with him and, when we have the likes of Colin Kazim-Richards back, we will be a strong force definitely .”
Best has never played at Wembley but did score a half time penalty at thehome of English football as a competition winner in his childhood.
“I went to Wembley as a fan a long time ago,” he said. “I went to the Coca Cola Cup final between Middlesbrough and Chelsea in 1998. I won some tickets to go.
“It would be good to go back to the new one. It was a Coca Cola kid competition, where you do kick-ups and tricks. I took a penalty at half time and scored, I think it was against the Chelsea reserve keeper.
“I was only young, Chelsea won the game. I got a medal for it, it was a good time, and got to meet all the players.”
Best also had words of thanks for Blackburn Rovers physio Dave Fevre - along with the rest of the club’s medical staff – for their part in his rehabilitation.
He said: “The medical staff at Blackburn have been brilliant. In football you get stressed and take your anger out on the people closest to you.
“Sometimes I’m sure I have been a bit annoying but Dave Fevre has been unbelievable. I am the type of person who is always pushing and he handled it very well. I have the utmost of respect for him.”