BLACKBURN boss Owen Coyle insists homegrown hero Jason Lowe is an ideal man to lead Rovers if Grant Hanley is prized away from Ewood Park.

Coyle made Lowe skipper for the first half of the first pre-season friendly against SV Ried in Austria 10 days ago, and handed him the armband again against Bury in the three-team tournament at Morecambe on Saturday.


Hanley has missed all three warm-up games so far with a knee injury he picked up on the European training trip.

And Norwich City are now believed to have joined Newcastle in the race to sign the Scotland international, with the Magpies having bids of £3.5m and £4.5m turned down earlier this month.

Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham are also rumoured to be keen on the 24-year-old centre-half.

Coyle said after Saturday’s action at the Globe Arena that it will be up to the owners if Hanley will be allowed to leave Ewood Park.

But he could have a ready-made replacement as skipper in Lowe, who is finally fully fit again after two injury-hit seasons.

The manager said: “Jason Lowe for me epitomises everything that Blackburn Rovers should be about.

“He’s an honest, hardworking professional with a fantastic attitude and great quality. He brings the same thing to you every day.

“You watch him on that training ground and he’s an absolute credit to himself and his football club.

“That’s why, with Grant missing out, I wanted to make Jason captain. He’s Blackburn Rovers through and through.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve and he gives you everything he’s got. That’s the type of players you want.”

Lowe has been with the club since the age of 12, making 130 appearances mostly in midfield but also being deployed at right-back , as he was against SV Ried and the Shakers.

He is one of a number of players, including Shane Duffy and Ben Marshall, who have only a season to run on their current deals, with Rovers secretary Mike Cheston last week insisting talks will be opened with the England Under-21 star on a new deal soon.

Coyle will be key to those negotiations and admits he was impressed with Lowe right from the start of his spell in charge of the club, especially his commitment to put the injuries that have plagued his recent seasons firmly behind him.

He added: “When you’re on the outside looking in, you always think, ‘That’s a good player, that’s a good type’.

“When you get to work with them on a daily basis, you see everything, warts and all, and Jason Lowe from day one has been a credit to himself.

“He’s had one or two injury issues, but he came in a couple of weeks in the build-up to pre-season when nobody else was here.

“He was in every day working his socks off and I thought, ‘I know I’ve got a really good type here’.

“I’ve been nothing but impressed with how he’s gone about it and long may that continue.”