Competition with Kean is healthy says Rovers goalkeeper
BLACKBURN Rovers goalkeeper Simon Eastwood is determined to keep hold of the number one shirt after enjoying a dream league debut for the club.
But Eastwood, one of the stars of Saturday’s excellent 0-0 draw at high-flying QPR, knows he has a fight on his hands with the man he has replaced between the posts.
The 24-year-old reckons his good friend Jake Kean will bounce back stronger after being dropped for the Hoops clash.
And Eastwood revealed that Kean, who he shares a lift to and from training with, was the first person to congratulate him after he played a key role in keeping Rovers’ first away clean sheet of the campaign.
“Jake’s been brilliant with me, we both travel in together and he was the first one to come up to me after the game, which was brilliant,” said summer signing Eastwood, whose only previous appearance for Rovers was in the Carling Cup defeat at Carlisle United in August.
“We’re both going to push each other to see who gets the shirt.
“At the minute I’ve got it but I’m sure he’ll push me as much as I’ve pushed him.
“It’s good for competition and we both thrive on it.
“You don’t get too many opportunities at this level to play games so when you do you have to take your chance.”
It was Eastwood’s stunning save form Matt Phillips that ensured Rovers became only the second side this season to take points off second-placed QPR at Loftus Road.
Modest Eastwood, who arrived at Ewood Park on a free transfer from Portsmouth in May, described it as a ‘reaction’ stop.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer, however, gave it the billing it deserved.
Bowyer said: “It was a world class save.”
Before Saturday Eastwood had never played in the Championship before.
And while he has experience of League One and League Two, it was only 18 months ago that the 6ft 2in stopper was playing in the Conference North for FC Halifax Town.
“To come to London and play the top-of-the-league team – there’s not many better feelings than that,” said Eastwood, who paid tribute to the performance of his defenders.
“I want to be playing in these type of games and at places like this every week.”
Eastwood was informed by Bowyer in midweek that he would be making his Rovers league bow.
The first person he told was his girlfriend, with whom he has a two-week-old baby girl.
Eastwood said: “It was nice to know early as it helps you prepare.
“To come to somewhere like this – a big club with so many good individual players – and get a clean sheet, I’m really happy with it.
“If somebody had offered me a clean sheet before the game I’d have snapped their hands off.
“We came to win the game but if you’re up against a top-of-the-league team and you get a point, you have to take it.”
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