Christopher Samba left out of Blackburn squad to face Arsenal

Blackburn captain Christopher Samba is "fit and available" but will not be in the squad to face Arsenal on Saturday.

The 27-year-old defender has not played since handing in a transfer request last month  , which was rejected.

Manager Steve Kean said he did not feel Samba was in the right frame of mind to return to the side for the game against Arsene Wenger's side.

CHRISTOPHER SAMBA AT ROVERS

Signed from Hertha Berlin in January 2007 for a fee of £400,000, Samba has since made 161 Premier League appearances, scoring 14 goals

"I'm prepared to say he's fit and he's available but he's not in the squad," Kean said.

"I'd rather speak about people who are available to play against Arsenal. Chris has trained well but he's not going to be in this squad."

Kean had stated his intention to sit down with his skipper after Rovers' 2-0 defeat by Newcastle on Wednesday night , and was hopeful they could put the matter behind them, but in the press conference ahead of the Gunners' clash the media were told questions about Samba were off limits.

The former Congolese international is a huge figure for Blackburn both in defence and attack and Kean's reluctance to discuss the situation is sure to cast more doubt on the centre-back's future at Ewood Park.

Meanwhile, Samba's long-time defensive partner Ryan Nelsen was allowed to leave Ewood Park  after having his contract cancelled by mutual consent, and joined Tottenham on a short-term deal.