IT’s not just the Blackburn Rovers defence the understated Tommie Hoban has slipped quietly into; it’s Lancashire life, too.

Despite Rovers’ struggles at the wrong end of the Championship Hoban has impressed since signing on a season-long loan from Watford.


Indeed you would never have guessed the 22-year-old had been restricted to just one appearance in 16 injury-hit months before arriving at Ewood Park given his polished performances.

Away from the field Hoban has also swiftly found his feet. Not, however, in the bright lights of Manchester, but in the sleepy surrounds of Bamber Bridge.

“It’s been very different,” said the Londoner. “It’s my first loan away. I suppose I feel like a bit of a foreigner up here!

“But I’m starting to settle in. Being at the training ground, sitting with the boys, has helped me, but outside of here I’m just starting to get to know the areas around here locally.

“I live in Bamber Bridge. It’s a nice area but very different to what I’m used to in London.

“What’s the biggest difference? I’d say the smell of the air! I don’t know if it’s all the farmers’ fields but it doesn’t smell like that in London! But I like it. It’s quiet, it’s relaxed, and the best thing is the traffic is a lot better.

“It’s a good experience all-round and I’m really enjoying it.”

What Hoban is not enjoying, however, are Rovers’ results.

After back-to-back wins they suffered two consecutive defeats to slip back into the bottom three going into tomorrow’s home clash with Ipswich Town.

Rovers’ inability to keep clean sheets has hampered their attempts to pull away from danger.

That has not been down to Hoban who has hardly put a foot wrong in the seven games he has played.

But the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international will not start to take pleasure from his own performances until the team’s fortunes improve.

“I’ve been happy playing and getting regular football but I was hoping the results would have been better than they have been,” said Hoban, who qualifies to play for the Republic of Ireland through his Dublin-born mother.

“We got good back-to-back wins a couple of weeks back and unfortunately we couldn’t build on that. But I think the two games we lost were very tight and could have gone either way.

“But we’ve got two home games this week and I’m sure if we can get points on the board things will be more positive.

“Last year was very tough. I just couldn’t get myself fit. There were some dark moments during the season when I was wondering whether the injuries would ever go.

“But I’m back fit and back playing. That’s what I’m here to do; play as many games as I can, and try and help the team as much as I can.

“Having been out for a long time it can be hard getting back into regular football but I feel like I’ve done okay. But that doesn’t really matter.

“The most important thing is the team and results and they still haven’t gone our way. We’ve got to keep working hard on the training pitch and I’m sure eventually we’ll get those clean sheets and victories.”