Van Hecke and Khadra prepare for Championship run-in

Albion loan pair set sights on helping Blackburn Rovers reach the play-offs.

By Charlie Hanson • 08 April 2022

By Blackburn Rovers
Jan Paul van Hecke has made 26 appearances for Blackburn Rovers so far this campaign, scoring once in a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth.

Jan Paul van Hecke reckons there is no ceiling to what Blackburn Rovers can achieve this season as they set their sights on a place in the Championship play-offs.

Tony Mowbray’s side only sit outside the top six on goal difference, but van Hecke believes the togetherness in the dressing room will help them finish strongly.

“It’s been a really positive season overall,” he said. “More recently it’s been tough and we conceded a late goal against Coventry on Saturday to draw 2-2, but there is still everything to play for. I hope we can finish on a high.

“Everyone is excited and wants to play in the last six games, to feel the pressure. We would rather be playing for a spot in the play-offs than fighting to stay in the league, so it’s only positive. We want to win all of our remaining games, of course it will be tough, but we can’t think of it in any other way.

By Blackburn Rovers
Jan Paul van Hecke joined Albion from NAC Breda in September 2020.

“Everyone in this group is friends and we’re there for each other. Maybe we don’t have the best players in the league but as a squad we’re really strong, there’s something special here.”

The 21-year-old’s good form hasn’t gone unnoticed. Mowbray recently compared the centre-back to Bobby Moore, while his standout performances saw him called up for Netherlands under-21s last month.

“The manager is really positive about me and has given me a lot of confidence. I have played pretty much every minute I have been available,” added van Hecke. “The Championship is a tough league and I definitely know that now but I am really enjoying it.

By Blackburn Rovers
The defender recently received his first call-up to the Netherlands Under-21 squad.

“I was really proud when I got the [Netherlands] call-up. You work hard to be recognised and it’s the first time I have been called up at any age group, so it’s a great feeling. I got a small injury while I was there, but I’ve had a bit of rest and I should be ready for the run-in.”

Reda Khadra, who has scored five goals this season, is also on loan with Blackburn although he has been absent recently with a calf injury.

“Reda is doing really well, he’s such a talented player and has everything you’d want from a good winger,” said van Hecke. “This league is so physical and intense, but Reda has shown what he’s about with his goals and assists. He is an important player as we go for the play-offs.”