Gary Bowyer admits he hopes to keep Michael Keane for the entirety of next season, due to his impressive performances whilst on loan.
The England Under-21 international has been at Ewood Park since March, and he has gone on to play 12 times in the Championship with three goals to his name. Keane is highly rated at his parent club Manchester United, where his twin brother Will is also under contract, and he is due back at Old Trafford ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.
However, despite the departure of Nemanja Vidic and the uncertainty surrounding the future of Rio Ferdinand, it is unlikely the 21-year-old will be pushing for regular first team action with the Premier League giants. For that reason, Bowyer will hope to persuade the Reds to let him take the youngster for a second loan spell.
“The level of performances Michael Keane has produced for us has been exceptional,” the Manchester-born Bowyer told the Lancashire Telegraph. “But he’s a Manchester United player and at the end of the season he’s going to have to go back to Manchester United. So we’ll have to see what the situation is there first and foremost.”
Rovers are unbeaten since their 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth in mid-March, but six draws in their subsequent 11 matches has almost certainly put paid to their playoff ambitions. They currently lie in eight position, and although they are just three points behind sixth-place Reading, the Madejski Stadium club have a superior goal difference.
However, there are certainly signs that Bowyer’s side can build on this season to mount a more lasting challenge next time round. Amongst their key objectives this summer will be to keep hold of Jordan Rhodes, who has scored 24 goals in 44 league starts this term. The Scotland international has been linked with a host of top-flight clubs, but he has stressed in the past that he is content to remain with his current employers.
“It’s flattering in a way, I just try to ignore it,” the 23-year-old said in The Mirror back in January. “I’m very happy at Blackburn Rovers and that’s the honest truth. It’s a terrific football club, full of good people, great staff and facilities there so you know I’m very happy, so until told otherwise I’m a Blackburn Rovers player.”