Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer praises Grant Hanley after win over Blackpool
Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer hailed Grant Hanley in the 2-0 win over Blackpool, while Barry Ferguson defended his squad.
Last Updated: 01/02/14 7:00pm
Hanley has been appointed club captain after the departure of Scott Dann to Crystal Palace on deadline day and he marshalled the defence superbly before rounding off his performance by heading in his first goal of the season nine minutes from time to keep Rovers in touch with the play-offs.
David Dunn opened the scoring after 19th minute with a crisp, low drive and after Hanley's header confirmed the win, Bowyer spoke of his new captain's leadership.
He said: "I've seen him do the job for many a year at youth level and reserve level and he's captain material. I know other people have spoken about him being national captain for Scotland one day and I honestly believe he'll do that.
"He wants the job, is an organiser and he leads by example. He gets the respect of the old players as well, which says a hell of a lot for him as a person and a player, and I can't speak highly enough of him. I thought his performance was superb."
Blackburn's win ended a run of four games without a win in all competitions, and Bowyer praised the 'professional job' from his team.
"It was important that we turned our performances into wins and we're delighted that we've done that," Bowyer said.
"I thought it was a very professional job today. Barry Ferguson's got them fighting for their lives and it took a bit of brilliance from Dunny to unlock them but we felt we should have been more up with the possession we had in the first half, been more clinical but in terms of the performance, very professional."
Bowyer also reserved special praise for Craig Conway, who made an impressive 21-minute cameo on his debut after signing from Cardiff City on deadline day to set up Hanley's goal.
He said: "He's going to play a massive part for us. His desire to get here and join us, he drove through the night to get here.
"People speak highly of him as a person and after 48 hours of knowing him, they're right. He's a good person and when he goes on the pitch he contributes massively."
The result extends Blackpool's woeful recent record. They have only picked up two points from the last 12 games and have lost their last eight on the road in all competitions, but interim player-manager Barry Ferguson is adamant the squad is good enough to survive a relegation battle.
He said: "I sat down in the dressing room and I said to the players, 'if you look through our squad and you add Ricardo Fuller and Jack Robinson to that, I'd take that squad over anybody's'.
"All they need is a bit of belief and I need to spend a bit of time with them.
"I think it's a quality squad and I think it's good enough without a doubt, and they need to believe in that. I wouldn't be sat here if I wasn't confident that I could do it."
Dunn weaved forward 10 yards before letting fly for the opening goal, but Ferguson felt his side did not do enough to prevent the chance.
"I wouldn't say it was a bit of magic," he said.
"I thought it was pretty easy for him to waltz through our midfield and onto our defence, which I was disappointed with.
"But I thought we looked solid right up until that moment, had a game plan in mind and it was working until we gave that sloppy goal away."