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Football: You'll get your turn, Hughes tells Reid.

BLACKBURN boss Mark Hughes has urged midfielder Steven Reid to be patient as he seeks to overcome a 15-month injury nightmare and force his way back into his manager's first-team plans.

Hughes admits he sprung a surprise on the player by naming him on the bench for Sunday's 2-2 draw with Fulham and giving him a short run-out for the last five minutes of the game.

But Hughes insists Reid is not yet ready for a full 90 minutes of action and will be on the bench again in tonight's Premier League clash with Aston Villa at Ewood Park.

Hughes said: "We were delighted that Steven was involved and in fairness we probably surprised him by involving him. I just felt it was important to involve him in the first team again.

"I made the decision on the morning of the match to put him on the bench and if there was a chance to get him on I would take that opportunity and I was pleased he was able to do it because it will help him.

"It was a major hurdle he had to get over and he's done that now.

"He's not ready for a full match yet but he needs to build up and there is no reason why he can't become a major player for us again."

Hughes, whose side takes on Newcastle on Saturday, is virtually at full strength for the visit of Villa, with South African striker Benni McCarthy declared fit despite limping off with a badly gashed leg at Craven Cottage.

Matt Derbyshire is back after a thigh strain and David Dunn from suspension, while Hughes is hoping Paraguay international Roque Santa Cruz will return refreshed after a rest at the weekend.

Hughes added: "Roque needed the break because he has played a lot of football and at his previous team he was only playing now and again. He has played almost every game here so it was important.

"The squad is very strong at the moment and I have got a lot of striking options and a lot of tough decisions to make."

With Villa representing the first of three consecutive home games, buoyant Hughes is targeting an improvement on the club's current ninth place -including even a possible tilt at the Champions League places.

He added: "It becomes more and more difficult every year because of the resources, but it is realistic this year."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 28, 2007
Words:408
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