Blackburn Rovers keeper Paul Robinson to play for under 21s
BLACKBURN Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson is ready to play his first competitive game in more than a year.
The former England No.1 should feature for Rovers Under-21s in their Premier League clash with Middlesbrough at Leigh Sports Village on Monday (7pm).
It will be another major step in Robinson’s recovery from the blood clot on his lung that threatened his life.
The 34-year-old has been back in full training for two weeks and on Tuesday returned to the pitch when he played in a behind-closed-doors clash with Carlisle United at Brockhall.
Rovers boss Gary Bowyer said: “Paul had his first 90 minutes on Tuesday so we’re delighted with the progress that he’s made.
“He’ll play for the reserves on Monday and then look to get another game in and then go from there.
“He’s an experienced player and he’ll know where he’s at and how far he’s got to go.”
Robinson has not appeared for Rovers’ senior side since December 7, 2012.
Once he returns to the first-team picture – which is expected to be early next year – he will compete for a place between the posts with Simon Eastwood and Jake Kean.
Eastwood will retain his place in the Rovers team for tomorrow’s visit of Millwall to Ewood Park.
Bowyer hailed Eastwood for the way he performed on his Championship debut in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at QPR.
But Bowyer has also been impressed with the way Kean has responded to being dropped.
He said: “Jake has been magnificent – in training he pulled off some right saves.”
Robinson, Dickson Etuhu, DJ Campbell and Corry Evans will miss tomorrow’s match with Millwall.
Evans has been sidelined since October with ankle-ligament damage but the key midfielder could resume running next week.
“He is working very hard in all the areas he is doing his rehab and we are hoping that he might start running next week,” said Bowyer, who is ready to call upon Rudy Gestede after confirming the on-loan Cardiff City striker will be fit to face Millwall.
Rovers are today expected to complete the signing of Accrington Stanley’s 16-year-old Blackburn-born winger Connor Mahoney.
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