Rovers boss so proud of battling qualities
‘PROUD’ Blackburn Rovers boss Gary Bowyer claimed his young side had taken a major step forward in their development after they fought back to earn a deserved derby draw.
Rovers looked to be heading to a first defeat to their bitter rivals for 34 years after substitute Junior Stanislas’ stunning 76th-minute sucker punch.
But they picked themselves off the canvas to equalise eight minutes later through hitman Jordan Rhodes.
Bowyer said: “I think it was a deserved point. We’ve got a young squad, with the average age of the starting XI being just 22.
“They were coming into a hostile environment but they leave with their heads held high because they took everything that Burnley threw at us first half and grew into the game.
“I thought our second-half performance certainly warranted a point. The goal that they scored was against the run of play. Given the age of our team, the resilience, the character and the spirit they showed – we leave here very proud of them.
“We’ve talked about stability and building for the future and this has been a massive day for them in terms of growing.”
No-one was more impressive for Rovers than centre-backs Scott Dann and Grant Hanley.
But Bowyer also reserved praise for 22-year-old goalkeeper Jake Kean, who recovered from a shaky start to keep the Clarets at bay before the break.
“The centre-backs have led from the front many a time, and when they are immense as Scott and Grant are it just inspires the rest of the lads,” said Bowyer, who unsurprisingly had no complaints about substitute Lee Williamson’s savvy injury-time sending off.
“Our goalkeeper kept us in it early doors and I’m delighted for him because he’s made a mistake or two but it shows how well he’s done that he’s bounced back.”
Rovers have now gone 11 games since last losing to Burnley.
And Bowyer was delighted for the 2,500-strong travelling support.
He said: “I thought they were magnificent.
“They were outnumbered but they certainly weren’t out-sung.
“You saw how much it meant to them at the end and I was delighted that we could send them home happy.”
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