Saturday 29 November 2014

Blackburn play hardball over Rhodes

Published 22/08/2014 | 16:11

Blackburn Rovers' Jordan Rhodes is Hull City's number one target
Blackburn Rovers' Jordan Rhodes is Hull City's number one target

Hull will be forced to spend nearly all of their Shane Long windfall if they are to land Blackburn's Jordan Rhodes as his replacement.

Scotland striker Rhodes, who has scored 53 goals in 99 appearances since joining Rovers two years ago, has emerged as Steve Bruce's number one target but will not come cheap after Blackburn rejected an initial offer.

They want a profit on the £8million they paid Huddersfield and value their prize asset in the same bracket as Long, who joined Southampton in a surprise £12million deal earlier this month.

Hull's Europa League trip to Lokeren this week has complicated matters, with Bruce admitting after the match on Thursday he did not know how far advanced the discussions over Rhodes were.

Blackburn, meanwhile, have indicated that the ball is in Hull's court and await an improved offer.

Rovers, who signed Tom Cairney and Corry Evans from the Tigers last year, are understood to be interested in Bruce's son Alex as part of any deal.

Bruce would be hesitant to sanction that, with the centre-back having impressed last season and also starting in the Barclays Premier League win over QPR on the opening weekend.

Hull favour a 3-5-2 formation, meaning Bruce senior would be loathe to lose one of his established central defenders.

Speaking after the 1-0 defeat in Belgium, Bruce highlighted the need to use his full squad as he attempts to balance the prospect of a European campaign with league commitments.

He made nine changes in Lokeren and could do so again when his side host Stoke on Sunday.

"I will look at that because obviously we've got a big game coming up," he said.

"I haven't got the balance right so far because we got beat but in hindsight I'd still do the same thing because it's vitally important to have enough energy in the team to be right for a Premier League game."

Meanwhile, Humberside Police said three Hull fans were arrested in Belgium - two for being drunk and disorderly and one for criminal damage.

Officers will work with Belgian counterparts to look at any offences which may have been committed and look at measures that can be taken ahead of the return leg at the KC Stadium next week.

Police in riot gear, backed up with water cannon, shepherded Hull fans past a pub frequented by local fans, with some supporters being hit by bottles as they passed.

A Humberside Police spokesman said: ''This type of behaviour will not be tolerated by the minority of fans involved as it not only puts others at risk but also spoils the experience for everyone else attending the game.

''The disorder witnessed will be taken into account as the return leg approaches and we will police the match accordingly.''

Press Association

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