Keeper Jake: I’m getting back to my best now
BLACKBURN Rovers goalkeeper Jake Kean believes he is getting back to his best after coming under fire for his early-season performances.
The 22-year-old was subject to ‘stick’ after his handling errors gifted goals to Bolton and – decisively – to Nottingham Forest. But Kean has gone some way to answering his critics in the past week.
He turned in a man-of-the-match performance in the midweek defeat at Leicester City and then produced the save of the game in Saturday’s 0-0 home draw with Huddersfield.
“I came in for a bit of stick at the start of the season but in the last couple of games I think I have got back to what I was last year before I did my knee,” said Kean, who missed the end of last season through injury.
“What people have got to remember is that I’m a young goalkeeper – I’m 22-years-old – and as a team we’re a young team.
“So I think if people give us the right support, the right time and bear with us, I think we what we can do as a group will be brilliant come the end of the season.”
Kean’s superb 34th-minute stop from Huddersfield dangerman Adam Hammill ensured Rovers kept their first clean sheet of the campaign.
It was also the first time the former England youth international had not conceded in a game since the FA Cup quarter-final draw at Millwall on March 10.
Now confident Kean is hoping for more of the same in Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth.
He said: “I’m happy with the clean sheet. It’s nice to get off the mark for myself and the back four and I thought the way we defended as a team as a whole was brilliant.
“It gives us something to build on and something to work toward and hopefully it’s the first of many.”
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer has been delighted by the way Kean has recovered from his shaky start to the campaign.
He said: “For all our dominance in possession on Saturday our goalkeeper made the best save of the game.
“We’ve got to give him credit for that because his concentration levels were fantastic.”
The draw with Huddersfield stretched Bowyer’s side’s winless run to three matches and leaves them 14th in the Championship with nine points from their opening eight games.
Kean recognises the need for more consistency.
But he is hopeful that will come and reckons when Rovers have clicked – like in the emphatic home victories over struggling Barnsley and Bolton – they have looked ‘unbeatable’.
He said: “I don’t think we’ve been outplayed or outclassed by anyone and as a team there’s a good spirit and belief about us.
“With an average of 22 we’re still learning and evolving as a young group. I think when it clicks, it clicks and we look unbeatable.
“But when it doesn’t and we’ve gone behind at Derby, Burnley and Leicester, we never gave in, we never stopped. It’s a young team that wants to work and keep going.
“As a group we are better. There are no cliques as such, there is a good bond between everyone and I think that shows on the pitch.”
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