FROM Tim Flowers to Brad Friedel and to the soon to be departed Paul Robinson, Rovers have been blessed with some top-rate goalkeepers over the past 20 years.

But, while the current crop of custodians cannot, yet at least, be considered in the same class, there are reasons for optimism.

Jason Steele has enjoyed a steady first season at Ewood Park and, at 24, has plenty of time to live up to the promise that won him seven England U21s caps, took him to the London 2012 Olympics, and led to him being linked with big money moves to Arsenal and Liverpool.

Not that Steele can afford to rest on his laurels.

Simon Eastwood has proved more than an able deputy this season and given his heroics against Middlesbrough at the back end of last year, he could class himself unfortunate not to start 2015 as Rovers’ number one.

Not that Eastwood’s position is entirely secure either. Not when David Raya is coming up fast on the rails.

Raya was well protected by captain Matt Kilgallon and Co on his debut in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Rovers’ favourite whipping boys.

And it is true that his task was made considerably easier after Leeds midfielder Rudy Austin forgot he was a footballer and not a boxer.​

But that should not detract from what was an accomplished display from Raya, the highlight of which was his superb save when the game was goalless to prevent Kilgallon from making it an unwanted hat-trick of own goals.

Rovers boss Gary Bowyer praised Raya’s performance – and rightly so – without going overboard.

It was an understandable stance to take as there is no point putting pressure on the Spanish stopper’s young shoulders.

But make no mistake, he is highly rated by the coaching staff at Brockhall, and that can only be a good thing for the club.

As at a time when Rovers are restricted to who they can sign, even on loan, it seems with Steele, Eastwood and Raya to call on, their future is in safe hands.