IN the 20 years or so I have been watching Rovers – since I was about seven – we have been blessed with top quality goalkeepers.

Tim Flowers was the most expensive goalkeeper in the world when he was signed by Kenny Dalglish.

And it was unfortunate for his predecessor Bobby Mimms, who was himself a reliable man to have between the sticks, that we had chosen to sign the England number one. Flowers was instrumental in the title-winning season, helping ensure our defence was solid while Sutton and Shearer fired them in at the far end.

My more clear memories come from the late 90s when we signed the Australian John Filan from Coventry City.

He quickly became the favoured number one, winning player of the year in the relegation season, and went on to battle Alan Kelly, another quality keeper to have graced Ewood, for the keeper role in the season that followed.

However, it was with the next signing that we were truly spoiled.

When Brad Friedel came to Ewood I had only heard of him because he played against us for Liverpool when their number one was injured.

He arrived at a time we already had two quality keepers but it wasn’t long before he had cemented his place in the hearts of all Rovers fans.

It was with great pain we saw him sold to Aston Villa in 2008, but his departure led to the arrival of another fans’ favourite in Paul Robinson.

Robbo recaptured the best of his form after moving to Ewood and I still think it was an injustice he was overlooked by England in the World Cup four years ago, especially having seen Rob Green’s gaffe in the USA game that opened the tournament for us.

It wasn’t until Robinson’s near-death injury that I was exposed to goalkeeping weaknesses, with the exception of a snowy evening in 1997 watching Nicolas Anelka strolling past a hapless Alan Fettis over and over again.

Jake Kean did well when first called upon, but seemed to struggle early on last season, and when Simon Eastwood took over things didn’t get any better.

But when Robinson defied the odds to battle back to the number one spot, he proved he was still the best keeper at the club and has continued in that vein.

Now 34, and even though keepers can go on a lot longer than other players, we need to be thinking about the long-term solution to the position.

And our loanee from Middlesbrough could prove a steal (get it?) and provide the answer. It will certainly be interesting to see who gets the nod when we take on Wigan this Saturday.