Rovers warn Wigan off Savage

LOYALTY: Robbie Savage and Mark Hughes

LOYALTY: Robbie Savage and Mark Hughes

First published in Sport This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by

BLACKBURN manager Mark Hughes has told Wigan Athletic to forget about signing midfield enforcer Robbie Savage.

Latics boss Paul Jewell sees the former Wales international as an ideal replacement for Jimmy Bullard, who quit the JJB for Fulham at the start of the summer, and he sounded Rovers out about the possibility of signing him last week.

However, Wigan's approach for the 31-year-old was quickly rebuffed, with Hughes insisting Savage remains a key part of his plans for next season.

"There was some interest (from Wigan) in Robbie but I put it to Mark and he told me categorically that he wasn't for sale," said Rovers' chairman John Williams.

It is believed Wigan were willing to offer Jason Roberts plus £1 million in exchange for the former Birmingham star, who became an increasingly influential figure in Rovers' midfield engine room as the club closed in on a top six spot towards the end of last season.

With Rovers in the hunt for at least two new strikers following Craig Bellamy's defection to Liverpool, Jewell thought he might be able to use Roberts as bait in his bid to land Savage.

But while Rovers still retain an interest in the Wigan frontman, who found the net 14 times last season, they would prefer a straight cash deal if they decided to take things further.

Savage, meanwhile, is perfectly happy at Rovers and would not relish another move at this stage in his career.

It took the Welshman a while to win over the Blackburn public after he arrived in controversial circumstances from Birmingham in January last year, but he went on to underline his importance to the team with a series of committed performances in the centre of midfield last term, helping the club to a top six finish and a place in the UEFA Cup.

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