Dwight Yorke has warned Blackburn Rovers ‘don’t waste your golden opportunity’ after claiming tonight’s Carling Cup semi final is bigger for them than it is for Aston Villa.
The former Rovers and Villa striker admits he will be rooting for the Midlanders in tonight’s second leg but believes the chance of “achieving something special” should inspire Sam Allardyce’s men into pushing their hosts all the way.
Yorke enjoyed two league cup successes in his nine-year Villa career and also lifted the FA Cup, the Premier League title and the Champions League during a glorious period at Manchester United.
The 38-year-old then knows what he is talking about when he describes the ‘special’ feeling of winning major silverware and he believes tonight’s tie offers Rovers’ players a rare chance of glory – as they look to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
David Dunn, Pascal Chimbonda and Paul Robinson are the only three Rovers’ players to have won major trophies in England, while Benni McCarthy has lifted the Champions League trophy, but Yorke believes the majority might not get any closer to glory than this.
Yorke said: “It is a massive opportunity. Unfortunately for teams like Blackburn, the Premier League is just about surviving nowadays. To try and win a trophy again is a brilliant chance. The last time was under Souness.
“I have won the Carling Cup twice. Trust me, winning anything is great, winning a trophy is even better. These guys at Rovers know they are not going to win the league and won’t get many chances to win any trophies in their careers.
“This is a big opportunity and I have had the experience of sitting in the Blackburn dressing room and not many of those players can pull out a trophy or a medal and say I have won this.
“This is a huge game for them, perhaps even bigger than it is for Villa because they have higher ambitions. The team Villa are building will hope to enjoy a lot of success in the next few years, realistically that won’t happen at Blackburn.
“Blackburn will know that and will be desperate not to waste it. It doesn’t get much better for them.”
Yorke, who was at Rovers between 2002 and 2004, believes Villa have the advantage over Rovers after hailing Martin O’Neill’s management and tipping them for future success.
He does believe though that Sam Allardyce’s style - while not his vision of the beautiful game - can cause the Midlanders problems, even if Rovers’ flair players are a little bit restricted.
He points to former teammates Dunn and El-Hadji Diouf as key to Rovers’ success - insisting their ability always gives Rovers a chance of carrying out an upset.
He said: “You know what you are going to get with Blackburn. They are very solid, very disciplined. Sam makes sure his teams are well organised. Nothing too flashy and I’m not sure it is my type of football.
“Things work for Sam though. That is why we are all different in character and Sam likes his team to be structured in a certain way. I like being the player I was and seeing the game played in a certain way.
“But also teams like to be organised. What you see is what you are going to get, even though players like El-Hadji Diouf and David Dunn are there. They will try to entertain as much as they can but perhaps they are restricted.
“You can see the argument though that teams can’t gamble because they can’t afford to go down. But there are ways to do things. It restricts you but each to your own.
“At least they still have these players and they have the talent to turn the game in the blink of an eye.”
Sutton rubbishes Imps' Yorke link.
Lincoln City manager Chris Sutton has dismissed speculation linking ex-Aston Villa and Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke with the Imps.
Reports claimed that the former Trinidad and Tobago international, 38, had been training with the club.
Sutton told BBC Lincolnshire: "It's absolute nonsense. We could talk hypothetically about anyone really, Diego Maradona coming or whoever.
"It's nonsense. He was a great player but he's retired and that's that."