Blackburn Rovers captain aims to banish pain as team makes bid to reach FA Cup semi-final (From This Is Lancashire)
Blackburn Rovers captain aims to banish pain as team makes bid to reach FA Cup semi-final
BLACKBURN Rovers skipper Scott Dann is ready to fight through the pain barrier at Ewood Park as he bids to make up for his own Wembley heartache.
Dann, who has been handed the captain’s armband in place of Danny Murphy, received seven stitches above his eye after Sunday’s goalless draw at Millwall and is ready for more of the same in tonight’s FA Cup quarter final replay at Ewood.
Rovers know victory this evening will earn a first Wembley appearance for the club since the Charity Shield in 1995, with a semi final against Wigan Athletic awaiting the winners, and Dann insists it means everything.
Boss Michael Appleton joked Dann was putting his looks at risk ahead of getting married this summer, but the tough tackling centre back insisted he was ready for another battle ahead - having missed Birmingham’s Wembley win through injury.
He said: “Stitches and glue, that’s what I’m made up of at the moment.
“It was a real scrap on Sunday. We knew what to expect going down there and it didn’t disappoint. It was what was going to happen and we needed to make sure we were up to the task.
“I’ll take a few more. I don’t think the fiancée will be happy about that but it comes part and parcel of being a defender. You get bumps and bruises and cuts and you’ve just got to get on with it.
“I haven’t seen it (the challenge) again. Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t and another day he might have got a yellow or been sent off. I haven’t seen it again but it’s not something I’m too worried about.”
Since arriving at Rovers for circa £6million two summers ago, Dann has experienced some difficult times having seen the club fall from the Premier League to the Championship mid-table.
But, with a Wembley appearance now just 90 minutes away, he admits victory this evening could give everyone at the club a big boost.
“It would mean everything,” he said. “The way this season and last season have gone it would give everyone a big lift and the players and the staff a big lift knowing that we’ll be getting something out of the season.
“We’ll be going into the game knowing it’s a massive game for the club and as young lads all you want to do is play at Wembley and we won’t get a better opportunity to do it.
“A couple of seasons ago I got to the Carling Cup final with Birmingham and we beat Arsenal there but I got injured in the semi-final and couldn’t play.
“On one hand it was great beating Arsenal at Wembley but it was a bit bitter because I didn’t play in the game. When you’re sitting there watching and knowing you should be out there it’s not a nice feeling.
“I went up for the presentation. I played every game up until the final and it was unfortunate but it was the way things panned out. I did go up but when everyone’s in the kit and I’m in the suit it doesn’t quite feel the same.”
Dann also insisted he was relishing the extra responsibility handed to him by being made captain but didn’t feel it would change his game.
He said: ”Obviously there’s an extra responsibility that comes with the armband but the main thing to focus on is to keep trying to improve and keep trying to perform on the pitch and lead by example out there.
“I’m the sort of person who tries to play that way anyway, even when I didn’t have the armband. I tried to lead by example and tried to help people out. Personally I don’t think my style of play will change.
“There’s a bigger responsibility and I just need to try to take that on my shoulders and keep trying to improve and do as much as I can for the team.”