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Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer hails Simon Eastwood heroics

29 December 2014

Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer joked Aitor Karanka had offered him £200million for Simon Eastwood after Rovers' back-up goalkeeper produced another stellar performance against Middlesbrough.

Eastwood and the frame of his goal denied Boro a place in the Sky Bet Championship's top two in a 0-0 draw at Ewood Park as Jason Steele's understudy once again shone in his moment in the sun.

Ironically, Eastwood was only playing because loanee Steele does not have permission to feature against his parent club and, just as he did at the Riverside last month, he thwarted Boro with a string of fine stops.

The best two came in the first period when he turned a Jelle Vossen effort onto a post before shovelling an Adam Reach header off his line, while Kike and Patrick Bamford both hit the woodwork late in the second half.

"Mr Karanka's just offered me 200 million for [Eastwood]," Bowyer quipped after the game.

"He's done brilliantly for us. He's played two games and we haven't lost so that's something for me to look at."

While a multi-million pound offer for the former Halifax and Portsmouth keeper is unlikely to be forthcoming, it would make little difference to Bowyer's January business anyway given Blackburn now head into a transfer window with their hands tied after being placed under a Football League embargo.

That means that, aside from loans and free transfers, Bowyer will have to make do with the group he has and he believes the current squad deserves more recognition for the spirit they are showing.

Markus Olsson and Lee Williamson were both forced off with injury in a bruising encounter, and Bowyer added:  "We had to make four positional changes and still put on the performance we did.

"I don't think we're getting enough credit for what we're trying to do here. It's a long season and this club has got to get through January, which is a big month for us.

"We need to keep the core group together and have a right good go at it."

Boro were held to a point by Rovers for the second time in 30 days and although there was no repeat of the late drama which denied them victory in the north east, Karanka was again left reflecting on two points dropped.

"It should be three," he admitted.

"Again, it's the same story when we play against Blackburn. I've been here for one year and we have played against them three times and three times the man of the match was the keeper. I don't know if it's a coincidence.

"We've not had a lot of chances and haven't played much better than them but we've had three or four clear chances to score today.

"This season it was Eastwood, last season it was [Paul] Robinson, but it was our mistakes, not just the keeper. The keeper is in the goal to save the ball but it was our mistakes today."

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