BLACKBURN Rovers remain interested in re-signing Manchester United starlet Michael Keane despite the arrival of Alex Baptiste.
But Rovers are going to have to play a waiting game before discovering if they have any chance of tempting Keane back to the club.
The 21-year-old defender was a huge success in his two-month loan at Ewood Park at the back end of last season.
But Keane, who scored three goals in 13 games as Rovers just missed out on a play-off place, will be given a chance to impress new United boss Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman yesterday included the England U21s international in his 25-man squad for the Premier League outfit’s pre-season tour of America.
And it will not be until after the tour finishes, on August 2, that any decision over Keane’s future will be taken.
Rovers’ need for a defender who can play centre back as well as right back is not urgent after they signed Baptiste on a season-long loan from Bolton Wanderers.
But such was the impression that Keane made during his short spell at the club, Gary Bowyer would not pass up the chance of getting him back in on loan if the opportunity arose.
“I’ve said all along that Mr Van Gaal will have a look at him,” said Rovers boss Bowyer, speaking before this week’s warm-weather training camp in Portugal.
“If Michael’s situation was to change then hopefully we’d be in a position to put ourselves forward.
“But we’re talking ifs, buts and maybes at the moment as he’s a Manchester United player.”
Keane said after his stint at Rovers ended that he would jump at the chance to return to the club if United decided to send him back out on loan to the Championship this season.
But his main aim is to play in the top flight – and with United.
“I’ve heard the new manager likes to bring young players through and that’s always been the way at United,” said Keane, who is also understood to be on the shortlist of Cardiff City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former reserve team manager at Old Trafford.
“Hopefully we can get a good pre-season and a chance to prove ourselves.”
Bowyer is in the market for one or two more additions to his squad.
He is happy with the options he has in midfield and up front but he would like another defender while there has also been speculation that he is interested in signing a goalkeeper.
However it is unlikely another keeper will come in before one goes out.
Rovers, meanwhile, will today round off their week in Portugal with a behind-closed-doors clash against Portuguese side SC Freamunde.
Bowyer’s squad will return to England tomorrow to prepare for their next friendly, away to Accrington Stanley on Wednesday.
Left back Tommy Spurr and new striker Chris Brown will miss the match through injury.
But they are expected to return for the trip to Bradford City on Saturday week.