IF you were going on sentiment alone, there is no doubt David Dunn would be handed a new contract.

But the question Gary Bowyer must ask when deciding whether to offer the Blackburn Rovers legend fresh terms is does he still have a role to play in the – mainly young – squad is he building?

For me the answer is a definite yes.

Dunn has blessed us with two of the best goals we have seen this season – his wonderful solo strikes against Bolton Wanderers and Blackpool at home.

The way he slalomed across the edge of the box to set up Craig Conway to score at Watford, too, was further evidence of a great football brain that continues to tick over.

But while he sits third in Rovers’ goals and assists rankings, with four and six respectively, the veteran midfielder’s importance goes beyond that.

That is shown by the fact that of the 23 Championship games he has featured in the current campaign, Bowyer’s side have taken 38 points.

In the 21 matches he has not appeared, they have taken 26.

Rovers have won six and drawn six of the 14 games he has started and while he has not been quite as influential when coming off the bench – he has contributed to four wins and two draws in nine substitute appearances – you saw the benefit of having a player of his calibre to call on in Friday’s frustrating stalemate with Yeovil.

It was only when Dunn was thrown into the fray that flat and anxious Rovers began to threaten to score the goal that truly would have put them in with a chance of making the play-offs.

With Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes growing into a potent strike partnership, and Tom Cairney almost certainly set to be moved inside once Ben Marshall returns from injury to provide competition for Josh King and the outstanding Conway on the flanks, Dunn may find opportunities to start harder to come by next season.

But that should not dissuade Bowyer from extending the former England international’s stay at Ewood Park by a further 12 months.

To see Dunn turning out for anyone but Rovers in the twilight of his career would be tough to take.

When fit, he is a player who remains massively important, nearly 16 years after he first pulled on the blue and white halved Rovers shirt.