Rovers manager Tony Mowbray admitted defender Paul Downing is deserving of his new deal after penning a permanent contract with the club on Monday.
Paul put pen to paper on a permanent contract with Rovers to ensure he's at Ewood Park until the summer of 2019 at least.
And Tony admitted he's been pleasently surprised by the defender's progression since signing for Rovers on deadline day in the summer.
"Paul Downing warrants and deserves a permanent contract at this club. His performance levels have been really high, his win percentage in the team is really good, too," Tony told iFollow.
"The test for Paul is to keep going for the next 20 games or so. Hoepfully if he gets to the Championship then he'll have to deal with the step up.
"He's surpassed where I thought he'd get to. His ability in the air is improving game by game and I'm interested to see where his progression as a footballer will stop because at the moment he's most certainly on an upward curve."
And Tony believes that, at 26, Paul can only continue improving.
Speaking from experience, Mowbray believes Downing can continue developing and get better with age.
"Central defenders mature with age. I thought I played my best football in my 30s because I knew the game more, I knew my body and my positional play," Tony reflected when looking back at his own playing days.
"I'm sure Paul will get better and rise to each challenge we put in front of him. He's a good lad, always asks questions and is looking to improve all the time.
"When we took him on loan, hes since come in and done very well for us."