Robinson steps up return from injury
BLACKBURN Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson has taken a step closer toward a first-team return by playing his first game since recovering from the illness that threatened his life.
Nine months after being diagnosed with a blood clot on his lung the former England number one was part of a Rovers team that took on Carlisle United in a behind-closed-doors clash on Tuesday.
Robinson could not prevent Carlisle from running out 1-0 winners at Brockhall.
But his performance impressed watching Rovers coaches.
The 34-year-old has spent the last six weeks being put through his paces by goalkeeping coach John Keeley in a specially designed pre-season programme put together by the club’s head of sports science Chris Neville.
Robinson, who has not played a competitive match for Rovers since December last year, returned to first-team training last week.
Meanwhile, Rovers’ FA Cup third-round tie at home to last season’s beaten finalists Manchester City is to be televised live on BT Sport.
The clash will take place on Saturday, January 4, and kick-off at 12.45pm.
The FA’s live broadcast fee in the third round is £144,000 per club.
The team which progresses to the fourth round will be awarded £67,500 in prize money.
Rovers won 2-0 at home to City, thanks to goals from Aaron Mokoena and Matt Derbyshire, the last time the sides met in the FA Cup in the 2006-07 quarter-finals.
Rovers were then knocked-out of the semi-finals by eventual winners Chelsea.
City lost last year’s final to Wigan Athletic.
The Ewood Park encounter will kick-start the FA Cup third-round weekend.
BT Sport will also show Derby County v Chelsea (2.15pm) and Manchester United v Swansea City (4.30pm) on Sunday, January 5.
ITV will broadcast the north London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham on the Saturday, (5.15pm) and Nottingham Forest v West Ham United on Sunday, (noon).
Rovers have yet to release ticket details for the showdown with fellow former Premier League winners City.
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