Mark Hughes says Benni McCarthy was left out of the Blackburn squad on Saturday because he is struggling for form.

The South African has so far failed to hit the heights of last season when he finished Rovers leading scorer and second in the Premiership. Hughes opted to leave the striker back in Blackburn to work on one or two things while the rest of the squad travelled to Sunderland.

McCarthy was not missed as Rovers ran out 2-1 winners at the Stadium of Light but Hughes says it will not be long before he is back in the first-team.

"I made the decision to leave Benni back at the training ground just to do extra work," said Hughes. "I just feel his form at the moment is not quite at the level it was, so he is doing a lot of one-to-one stuff and that will continue next week.

"He will be better for that and be ready to make the impact he made last year."