Colin Hendry always knew Darragh Lenihan would become a central defender – despite working with him as a midfielder during his coaching spell at Ewood Park.

Hendry was assistant to first Gary Bowyer and then Eric Kinder with Rovers Under-21s where Lenihan was employed as a holding midfielder.

But the Rovers legend, no stranger no swapping positions having first arrived at Ewood Park as a striker, always thought Lenihan was better suited to playing further back.

“I could tell straight away that Darragh was a defender in the making,” said Hendry who made more than 300 appearances for Rovers during two spells at Ewood Park.

“He played that holding role in midfield and was good on the ball and did well. But to be honest, he was more of a defender and so it has proved.”

Hendry switched positions having started his playing career as a striker at Dundee before travelling over the boarder to join Rovers in 1987.

“When I first went to Rovers under Don McKay I was a striker but I fitted in at centre back when Glenn Keeley wasn’t available one time,” he recalled.

“After that I moved between the two positions. I went away to Man City and returned a couple of years later as a centre back.”

Manager Tony Mowbray has tipped Lenihan to go all the way in the game and he made his Republic of Ireland debut last season.

Hendry believes the 25-year-old is benefitting from working alongside the experienced Charlie Mulgrew although both have had their injury problems of late.

“You are always learning in football and sometimes, when you are a young player, you are learning on the job,” said Hendry.

“So to have someone of Charlie Mulgrew’s experience alongside you is a great help. Darragh will definitely be benefitting from that.”

Just like the Mulgrew and Lenihan situation, Hendry has been both teacher and pupil during his playing days – benefitting from working alongside more experienced players before passing on his knowledge later his career.

“While I was more of a complete defender when I came back to Rovers from Manchester City, I worked with Kevin Moran who was very helpful,” he said.

“Later in my career, I was the more senior defender and helped the likes of Ian Pearce.

“Saying that, when we won the title, I played a lot alongside Tony Gale who was very experienced.

“So I know what it is like to learn off a defensive partner and I know what it is like to take a younger player under your wing.”

Hendry was back at Ewood last week, recalling stories of his time at the club with supporters at a Community Trust event.

He credits much of the turnaround in fortunes at the club to the work of Mowbray.

“He is a fantastic manager and is very experienced at this level. He is working wonders,” the 53-year-old added.

“He has brought stability back to the club after years of upheaval and that is great to see.”