BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes he is getting closer to the right blend of youth and experience – and he could hand a Rovers return to Lucas Neill to help him achieve that aim.
The Rovers chief accepts it will take at least two more transfer windows before he gets his squad exactly how he wants it.
But he is refusing to rule out a return for 35-year-old Neill, who is based locally and has been training with Rovers since November.
“We’re just getting the blend right in terms of experience and youthful enthusiasm,” said Bowyer. “We’ve got Paul Robinson back now and that’s a massive plus with his experience and know-how.
“Matt Kilgallon has come in and done brilliantly for us. It was obviously a loss losing our captain Scott Dann but Killa has come in and done great for us.
“Then you’ve got Dunny just playing off the front so there is more experience there but we’ve still got work to do.”
That work will continue in the summer when the permanent transfer window reopens. But the loan market opens on Saturday and Bowyer has admitted he could go back into the market to find defensive cover for departed skipper Dann.
But he also has the option of handing free-agent Neill a short-term deal.
The versatile defender watched on from the stands as Rovers beat Blackpool on Saturday.
Bowyer said: “I’ve said all along you can never say never and that is the same situation now.
“Lucas and myself have been very honest with each other right from the start, we both know where we stand.
“If the opportunity for Lucas to join another club comes along then that is a possibility.
“But at the same time we would have to sort something out if we thought something suited us.”
Bowyer was boosted by the return of Robinson, Kilgallon and Dunn in Saturday’s 2-0 success over Blackpool.
That took the average age of the Rovers side to 26 but of the 10 youngest line-ups named in the Championship this season Rovers have fielded nine of them.
That led Bowyer to add another seasoned performer to his ranks before the January window closed with the signing of 28-year-old winger Craig Conway from Cardiff City.
“For the football club to get on an even keel it’s going to take a few windows, both in terms of bringing players in and balancing the books,” said Bowyer, who signed four players and let 16 leave last month.
“I said it at the beginning of the season when I first took over and I still believe that now.
“We’re getting closer to forming our squad but for the good of the football club it could take another couple of windows.”