1st Team Squad Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson, Mark Bunn
Overview: I have little doubt that the form of Paul Robinson last season had a major influence on a couple of England eligible goalkeepers distancing themselves from the national squad. For whatever reason, not having to worry about international duty has worked wonders for Robinson and he was largely excellent last season. Without him, Rovers would have been relegated and the club would be in real turmoil with some of their exciting young players leaving for Premier League football. This season we’ll see if the absence of international duty help to return Robinson to his best or if it was merely a coincidence timed with turning his back on Capello’s calls. It was something of a surprise that they let Frank Fielding go to Derby, but with Robinson looking so impressive, the England U21 keeper probably didn’t fancy his chances of getting the starting berth in the foreseeable future. In reserve, Rovers have the services of Mark Bunn. He’s spent a couple of seasons out on loan, but after Jason Brown was released at the end of his contract, the 26 year old will be called up should Robinson be unavailable. He’s shown plenty of potential, but as yet he hasn’t had an extended run in the team. He could be perfectly capable of performing to the required level, but we simply haven’t seen much of him in the Premier League. With Rovers likely to have another tough campaign on their hands, fingers will be crossed that Robinson keeps a clean bill of health and the need for Bunn is minimal.
Worst case scenario: Robinson can’t maintain the huge improvements of last season and mistakes start to creep back into his game. With the inexperienced Bunn on the bench, Steve Kean persists with Robinson, but his confidence is shot and he makes several costly errors.
Most likely outcome: Robinson was so consistent over the last season that I suspect his improvement is permanent. He will continue to play well with the occasional mistake interspersed into his displays, but overall he will earn his team a substantial number of points.