Rovers switch suits Stokes

Anthony Stokes believes signing for Blackburn Rovers can help to kick-start his career after being released by Celtic last month.

The 27-year-old has penned a three-year contract with Rovers and becomes Owen Coyle’s first signing since he was appointed manager at Ewood Park.

Stokes scored 77 goals in 192 games for Celtic and won four Scottish Premiership titles, two Scottish Cups and the Scottish League Cup during his time in Glasgow.

He started his career at Arsenal and, after enjoying a spell on loan at Falkirk, moved to Sunderland for £2million in January 2007.

The Republic of Ireland international failed to impress on Wearside though and was loaned out to Sheffield United and Crystal Palace before moving to Hibernian on a free transfer seven years ago.

He scored 22 goals in 40 league appearances for the Edinburgh-based side before being snapped up by Celtic in the summer of 2010.

Stokes said: “I get a feeling for moves a lot of the time and there were different options available, but this seemed the right move for me.

“He (Owen Coyle) had only positive things to say about me and I’m just looking forward to bedding in, getting a good pre-season under my belt and the start of the season.

“For myself, having a manager that believes in me gives me a lot of confidence and, as a striker you need that, but it’s going to be down to how I perform.”

Blackburn can be backed at 16/1 to be promoted from the Championship in the 2016/17 campaign while Aston Villa are 9/4 to go up and Newcastle United 8/11.