MICHAEL Appleton is backing Bradley Orr to play a key role in Blackburn Rovers’ promotion push after hailing the full back as an “infectious character”.
Orr’s Rovers career looked doomed when he was allowed to leave on loan to tomorrow’s opponents Ipswich Town in November with global advisor Shebby Singh ready to extend the deal until the end of the season.
Appleton’s appointment as Rovers boss though saw the 30-year-old immediately recalled and Orr has been tipped by his boss to play an influential role at Ewood.
Orr returned to the line-up in Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 victory overBristol City and is expected to continue at right back against his former team-mates tomorrow.
Since being brought to the club by Steve Kean from QPR in January 2012, Orr has struggled to establish himself having received criticism from sections of supporters for an interview supporting Kean and subsequently falling out of favour with Singh. Now though, back at Ewood Park and offering competition to the currently injured Adam Henley, Appleton is relishing having him as part of his squad.
Appleton said of his performance against Bristol City: “It was a solid performance from Brad against one of the clubs he was at for a long time.
“I am delighted for him. He is one of those players who everybody loves at the football club. He is good company as well and it is good we have him back at the club.
“He is an infectious character. Although it may not have been a great start to his career at Blackburn, I don’t think he can blamed for any part in that.
“I think there are other people out there who can be blamed for a part in it. He has done nothing wrong as far as I am concerned and he will come in and do well for us until the end of the season.”
The Rovers boss has also again stressed the importance of being hard to beat after seeing his side record two successive clean sheets.
“I am delighted with two clean sheets,” said Appleton. “Jordan Rhodes will have got all the plaudits the other day but there were some very good performances in the back four.
“We have had to deal with a lot of long balls. Scott Dann and Grant Hanley were unsung heroes at times, Brad and Martin Olsson as well in dealing with a lot of diagonal balls.
“It was never going to be pretty. It is impossible to be pretty when you come up against a side that play like Bristol City did. I am not worried about that in the slightest little bit.
“Ipswich will be a different game, as Brighton was, and we treat every game as it comes. But it is like anything, if you play really, really well but lose no one cares.”
Meanwhile Rovers will today hope to add the loan signing of DJ Campbell from QPR but West Brom are reluctant to allow Jerome Thomas to leave The Hawthorns.