Blackburn's Roberts sidelined by swine flu

BLACKBURN: Blackburn striker Jason Roberts has become the Premier League's club latest star to suffer from suspected swine flu.

Roberts is unlikely to be available for Rovers' clash at Manchester United on Saturday after showing symptoms of the virus, which had already been contracted by team-mates David Dunn and Christopher Samba, as well as boss Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce said that he and most of his squad had recovered after an outbreak in the camp last week but confirmed that Roberts was being seen by a doctor.

"I'm okay now - I think we've only Jason Roberts," Allardyce said on Friday. "There was another player suffering with it earlier in the week and Jason looks like it now, so we've left him at home and sent the doctor out to see him.

"The symptoms look very much like the general swine flu symptoms, so we will obviously go and get a full check on him.

"We've just got Chris Samba back, who seems to have been affected the most by the symptoms.

"He's been left pretty weak, I think he has lost about four or five kilos. It is an incredible amount of fluid he has lost.

"We'll have to check if he is strong enough to be capable of being selected for the squad on Saturday. We'll run him through training today and see where we go from there."

Allardyce watched Tuesday's League Cup win against Peterborough from the stand for fear of passing the virus onto his players and admitted he had been worried at times about how ill he really was.

"It was just your normal feeling of flu symptoms really, nothing worse that than from my point of view I'm glad to say," he said.

"But when you get home and you hear on the news that somebody has died from it, you wonder what the situation is.

"There was something particularly wrong (with that person) when they caught the virus and obviously that contributed to the death.

"I was achy, sweaty and had headaches. But it was bed for a couple of days and I'm alright now."

Meanwhile, Allardyce has warned Wigan manager Roberto Martinez to watch what he says in future after accepting an apology from the Spaniard over his alleged comments in a Spanish newspaper.

Martinez was reported to have said that Allardyce viewed himself as Sir Alex Ferguson's successor at Old Trafford and was part of a group of managers sympathetic towards the Manchester United manager.

Martinez subsequently denied making the comments and Allardyce confirmed that the Wigan boss had phoned to apologise.

"I accept what he said when he rang me," Allardyce said. "When I saw the papers I thought, 'Is it true or isn't it?' But I have to take his word for it, which I do.

"Welcome to the Premier League, Roberto. Keep your mouth shut in the future or make sure you remember what is going to be done in the Premier League.

"It's not a real problem for me, I just think Roberto has learnt a harsh lesson about what happens in the Premier League if you start diverting away from you and your club business.

"You can say you can be misinterpreted, you can say you can be read wrong, but it's a lesson that when you comment in this league on anything it can be blown out of all proportion."