BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer believes the instant impressions made by new boys Craig Conway and Luke Varney is proof positive that homework pays off.
Conway marked his full debut by scoring the winner at Reading last Saturday while Varney came off the bench to play his part in a vital victory which has left Rovers just four points off the play-offs.
Bowyer places as much emphasis on recruiting players with the right character as their ability on the pitch.
And he reckons the way that winger Conway and striker Varney have immediately blended into the tight-knit Rovers squad shows why the time he and his coaching team spend doing background checks is so worthwhile.
“You wouldn’t have thought the two of them are new signings as they have fitted in so well with what we’re about and fitted in with the group brilliantly,” said Bowyer, whose ninth-placed side make the short trip to struggling neighbours Bolton Wanderers this Saturday.
“I can’t praise Craig enough for what he did on his full debut but I thought Luke Varney was magnificent when he came on too.
“He threw his body in front of everything and headed everything and the spirit that he brings and the aggression that he brings was exactly what we needed.
“We knew what we were getting with both players and the lads have taken to them straight away.
“A lot of work goes into signing players.
“People only see when you actually sign them but there is a lot of work before that, by the way of phone calls and research.
“As I’ve said all along, after what we’ve been through in the last couple of years, the first thing that’s really important for us as staff is how the players are as people.
“We’ve started to change that and I’m sure everyone can see we’re making progress on that front.”
The camaraderie between the Rovers players was evident at Reading as they withstood a late aerial bombardment from their top-six rivals to claim their most important win of the season so far.
Bowyer added: “The spirit has been good for a while, everybody is on the same page, it’s just that it was really clear on Saturday.
“That part of the game is massive as when you’ve got a good spirit and characters, and everyone is fighting for the same cause, then you’ve got a chance.”
Bowyer has let 18 players leave either on loan or permanently since the start of last month.
He would still like cover in defence – captain Grant Hanley and Matt Kilgallon are his only recognised centre-backs – while, with Ben Marshall and Josh King sidelined, he may also attempt to strengthen in attack before the loan window closes next month.