ALEX Baptiste has pleaded with Blackburn Rovers to make his loan deal permanent next summer.
The 28-year-old defender has made a solid start at Ewood Park after being loaned out to Wanderers’ local rivals for the season.
Playing at centre-half, the position where he made his name at Blackpool, Baptiste is enjoying a new lease of life down the A666 and admits he has now drawn a line under his time with the Whites.
“It’s fantastic, I love the place,” he said. “The staff and the fans have been absolutely fantastic, I feel at home here, I couldn’t have asked for a better club.
“I don’t want to go back. I can definitely see a future here.”
Baptiste’s admission could leave him in an interesting position next summer when he is due to return to Wanderers to serve out the last 12 months of his contract.
His one and only season in Bolton started promisingly and he was among the club’s leading goalscorers for most of the campaign after netting some vital goals against Yeovil, Derby and Middlesbrough.
But he failed to nail down the position he wanted to play in the middle of defence and spent much of his time covering for the injured Marc Tierney at left-back.
Some high profile mistakes at the end of the campaign saw him leave for the summer under a cloud – but Baptiste says he is now happy again playing for Gary Bowyer’s Rovers, who have lost just one of their first four Championship games, and would be keen to sign a permanent deal if it was on offer.
“I haven’t played centre half for a good 18 months but I feel it’s my best position,” he said.
“The staff have been fantastic, the manager has been unbelievable, and I’m really enjoying my football again, which for the past 18 months I haven’t done.
“I am smiling again.
“I know it is early doors and I’ve still got to prove myself, but if I could sign here then, yes, I’d snap their hands off.”