MICHAEL Appleton hailed his central defensive pairing of Scott Dann and Grant Hanley, as they kept a first clean sheet under his stewardship.

Dann also found the target as Rovers secured a first win under Appleton with a 3-0 success at Derby County in the FA Cup on Saturday.

And Appleton was left pleased with the pair’s performance.

He said: “It is not just their aerial ability in terms of defending balls in the box but the amount of times they got in front of their strikers and nipped in front and picked the right time to win the ball.

“They look very solid, they have a good understanding of each other and it is important we keep them fit. As a unit we look reasonably solid and that is pleasing.

“I think all the players are enjoying themselves. There is nothing not to enjoy.

“Obviously there are certain issues that need to be sorted off the field but I am sure they will be done sufficiently.

“As players and as managers just get on with it.

“I don’t know if I am making an imprint, you tell me. I would like to think we are hard to beat and look organised and hopefully we will continue to do that.

“I said to the boys for me my first win came on Tuesday night.

“From a psychological point of view, the way we played and the way we set up, I felt we already had it.

“But the record books say this was the first one and obviously it tastes sweet.”

Meanwhile, Appleton hailed a focused Colin Kazim-Richards as ‘almost unplayable’ after the Turkish international, who is understood to be the subject of interest from Bursaspor, got Rovers off the mark at Pride Park.

Appleton described the forward’s recent performances as a ‘pleasure to watch’.

“It was a good time to score just before half time and it is a good habit to have because we did it on Tuesday,” said Appleton.

“I thought it was a fantastic goal. It gave us a platform for the second half.

“He (Kazim-Richards) has led from the front. When he is like that he is almost unplayable because he looks as though he is in the right frame of mind.

“When you have a player like Kaz it is just important they are in the right frame of mind and he is at the minute and hopefully he is enjoying his football. I certainly enjoy watching him.”