After the Rovers retained list was announced, here’s a look at how the Rovers squad is shaping up for next season, starting with the goalkeepers.


Rewind to last summer, and the most pressing need for Rovers was to find a first choice goalkeeper, as well as a back-up.

It is one area of the pitch that has gone through the biggest change in recent seasons, and barring any interest that proves too good to turn down, it appears to be the most stable heading into 2021/22.

The Rovers goalkeeping story dates back to David Raya’s departure to Brentford in July 2019. Rovers didn’t get their replacements of choice that summer, with Christian Walton arriving on a season-long loan deal from Brighton & Hove Albion always feeling like something of a stop-gap signing.

When he returned to the AMEX Stadium, and Jayson Leutwiler headed off to find regular first-team football, Rovers had to begin a search for a whole new goalkeeping department.

Thomas Kaminski, signed for £450,000 from KAA Gent 10 months ago, was the find of last season, the Belgian proving to be something of a bargain, later named player of the season after appearing in 45 matches across the campaign.

There was also a small fee paid for back-up option Aynsley Pears, the Middlesbrough man brought in on a long contract, through to 2024, and he started three matches as cover for Kaminski in October.

Antonis Stergiakis was a last minute deal in October, and he shared the gloves with Jordan Eastham during the Under-23s’ 24 Premier League 2 matches.

There was a sale, Andrew Fisher leaving on deadline day in October for MK Dons, the 23-year-old having started the Carabao Cup win over Doncaster for his first senior appearance in three years as Kaminski was quarantined.

Fisher ended last season with the League One side who then secured him on a permanent deal, his contract later extended after a fine start to life at Stadium:MK, finishing the season with 39 appearances, and plenty of plaudits.

Joe Hilton is another ‘keeper on the books, contracted until next summer, the 21-year-old having had an interesting season.

He missed all of the close season matches through injury, and without making an Under-23s appearance for Rovers, the 21-year-old was signed as emergency cover by Fleetwood Town, making three appearances.

Later that month he signed a new one-year deal, and was subsequently loaned out to Ross County, although he has failed to make an appearance for the Scottish Premiership side.

And there will be an interesting dynamic as to how Rovers look to utilise the goalkeeper’s within their youth ranks, after Under-18s stopper Aidan Dowling signed his first professional deal.

The likelihood is that it will be behind Kaminski and Pears that Rovers look to conduct business this summer.

Stergiakis (22) has had first-team exposure in the past, with Bulgarian side Slavia Sofia, and along with Hilton (21) would appear to be the players the club would most like to further develop on loan, due to being the most senior of the options.

That would leave Dowling, aged 18, as back-up for 19-year-old Eastham, the teenager having been in first-team matchday squads already, and having impressed with his agility, and distribution.

Eastham wasn’t one of the Under-23s squad to sign a new deal this summer, already under contract through to 2022.

Indeed, Raya could yet be the biggest goalkeeping story of the summer once again, with Rovers waiting on a possible Premier League move for the Spaniard that would see a sell-on clause activated.

Alternatively, should Brentford reach the top-flight themselves, there is a promotion clause within the deal that took Raya to the capital, and help push the initial £3m fee closer to the £5m maximum.