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Boss sure Williamson can take Blackburn Rovers to next level
THE return to full fitness of Lee Williamson can help Blackburn Rovers rise even further up the Championship table believes Ewood boss Gary Bowyer.
The Rovers chief believes the midfielder’s leadership was one of the key reasons why his side avoided the drop last season.
And Bowyer is considering throwing the 31-year-old straight into the white-hot heat of an East Lancashire derby – despite his lack of game time.
Williamson has not kicked a ball so far this season after being laid low by a back injury.
But Bowyer said: “Lee Williamson is very close and he should come in for contention for the Burnley game.
“He is a great character and a great person to have, both on the training pitch and in the dressing room on matchdays.
“His level of performances last year was man-of-the-match performances that helped us stay in the division.
“We were disappointed that he could not take part in pre-season but he’s worked extremely hard to get himself back into contention.
“We’ve got some good energetic midfielders and if you add the experience that he and Dickson Etuhu will provide, it will be a good blend.”
Williamson, who joined Rovers on a free transfer in February, will be given every opportunity to prove he is ready to face Burnley on Saturday week.
Blackburn do not have an Under-21 match – in which teams are allowed to field three overage outfield players – before the Turf Moor meeting.
Bowyer is therefore likely to arrange a behind-closed-doors clash early next week mainly for Williamson’s benefit.
Striker DJ Campbell – another player who has yet to feature so far this season – could also line-up in the game after recovering from an ankle injury.
Midfielder Etuhu (knee) and defender Adam Henley (hamstring) are also making progress following lengthy spells on the sidelines.
Bowyer is continuing to take a cautious approach with Paul Robinson, after the goalkeeper suffered a blood clot on his lung in March, but his sole long-term absentee is now Ruben Rochina (shoulder).
Bowyer added: “Paul Robinson is going to take his time and there is no rush from our side on that. Everyone should support him in wishing him all the best.
“Dickson Etuhu is doing well in his rehab, and Adam Henley had a blip the other week but he’s got over that and that will give him a tremendous boost.
“DJ is doing all right and he won’t be too far away as well.
“It’s going to add real competition to the squad and give us some headaches.”
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