MATT Kilgallon has been impressed by the speed at which his new centre-back partner Michael Keane has settled into the Blackburn Rovers starting line-up.
And he admits Rovers boss Gary Bowyer has got a decision to make now that captain Grant Hanley is fit again.
Keane has started five straight games alongside Kilgallon at the heart of Bowyer’s defence since signing on loan from Manchester United earlier this month.
Although the 21-year-old has only been on the winning side once, the standard of performance he has produced meant he kept his place ahead of skipper Hanley for Tuesday night’s 3-3 draw at Watford.
The Rovers skipper, who had missed the previous three matches with a hamstring injury, never made it off the bench in the six-goal thriller.
But he could be handed a recall in today’s trip to bottom-side Millwall.
“Michael is 21 years old and he is only going to get better,” said summer signing Kilgallon, 30, who kept straight three clean sheets alongside Hanley immediately after Scott Dann was sold to Crystal Palace on transfer deadline day in January.
“He’s got everything, strength and pace, and hopefully I can help him in his career.
“Since me and Grant started playing together we have formed a good partnership, kept clean sheets and worked well together.
“But when you’ve got the shirt and you’re playing well the shirt is yours and I think the gaffer goes on that as well.
“Keano has done well so the gaffer has got a decision to make and I’m sure he’ll make the right one.”
Bowyer has the option of shifting Keane to right back – a role he played when he was coming through the ranks at United – and bringing Hanley back in to the side.
Former Leeds United defender Kilgallon, who has played left-back during his career, admits he would prefer to play in his natural position, but insists any Rovers player will slot in for the good of the team.
Kilgallon said: “If a gaffer asks you to do it, you do it, but you ask any centre-half and no-one would say they want to be playing right or left-back.
“It’s the same with a winger – they don’t want to be playing full-back.
“But if you’ve got to do a job for the team, you’ve got to do it.”