BLACKBURN Rovers boss Gary Bowyer is relishing the prospect of working with Corry Evans for a full season, insisting the midfielder will only get better.
Bowyer was fulsome in his praise of Evans after he produced his best performance since returning from a five-month injury lay-off in Saturday’s 3-1 win at Charlton Athletic.
The Northern Ireland midfielder’s all-action display proved beyond doubt he is now fully recovered from the ankle-ligament damage he suffered while playing for his country in October.
But Bowyer, left, believes the 23-year-old will only grow in influence and stature next season.
“Corry was the best player on the pitch on Saturday – and it’s as simple as that,” said Bowyer, who snapped up Evans from Hull City in August.
“He dominated the midfield and it was an outstanding performance from him.
“The timing of his injury and how it occurred, playing for Northern Ireland, was a massive blow for us and for the lad himself.
“But credit to him, he’s worked ever so hard with the medical team to get back and we are seeing what a good player he is.
“And he is only going to get better.”
Evans had just cemented his place in Rovers’ starting line-up when he was the victim of a late tackle from Israel’s Sheran Yeini in Northern Ireland’s World Cup qualifier in Tel Aviv on October 15.
The former Manchester United youngster did not play again for Bowyer’s in-form side until March 1 when he came on as a half-time substitute in the defeat at Bolton Wanderers.
But since then he has missed just two matches, helping Rovers go on an 11-game unbeaten run.
Evans said: “I missed a large chunk in the middle of the season but I’ve managed to get back.
“I was dying to get back and put a run of games together.
“I’m just enjoying my football again and it’s good to be picking up points.
“That’s what you’re in football for and it’s nice to be doing it.”
Another player who could have a big role to play at Rovers next season is Michael Keane.
Since signing on loan from Manchester United the 21-year-old defender has impressed at right-back and centre-back, as well as scoring three goals.
But it will not be until United have a new manager in place – having last week sacked David Moyes, who had watched Keane for Rovers – that Bowyer will be able to discover whether he can keep hold of Keane.
“The level of performances Michael has produced for us have been exceptional,” said Bowyer.
“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.”