TIM Ream believes a spell out of the Wanderers side saw keeper Adam Bogdan come back a changed man.

A knee injury kept the Hungary international out of action between mid-October and the New Year, after which he struggled to regain his place from Andy Lonergan.

He won back the keeper’s spot after Lonergan made a couple of high-profile errors and has since been in outstanding form – preserving a point for Wanderers in Saturday’s derby with a world class penalty save from Jordi Gomez.

After watching Bogdan’s last-minute heroics, Ream reckons his team-mate is now playing the best football of his Reebok career.

“Some would say he’s looked a different keeper since he came back, for whatever reason, I couldn’t tell you,” he said.

“There was something in my gut that knew Shaggy had that penalty covered.

“I said in the changing room it was an unbelievable penalty. The guy took it really well and it was an even better save. Big players come out and keep their team in the game.

“He hasn’t really changed anything but he’s playing with a confidence right now that I don’t think anyone has really seen since he stepped in as number one two years ago.

“Before his injury he was coming for crosses and maybe dropping a couple – now they are sticking. He hasn’t really made a bad decision.

“He’s done incredibly well since he came back in and it has helped us a lot.”

Lonergan looked to have cemented the number one spot with his performances at the end of last year but suffered after the 7-1 defeat at Reading, with errors against Cardiff in the cup and Ipswich in the Championship hastening his exit from the side.

But Ream believes that Bogdan spent enough time out of the side to concentrate on improving his own game – which had also been somewhat erratic at the start of the campaign.

“I think it’s a product of what we all went through at the start of this year, with having such a rough time of it,” he said.

“Maybe the injury did a little good for him in his mindset and let him take his foot off the pedal, collect his thoughts and improve.

“On top of that, Lonners coming in and doing so well early on gave him something to think about and he’s really stepped up to the plate.”

Ream has been another big player for Wanderers of late, with his form in an unfamiliar left-back position one of the surprise bonuses of a difficult season.

The US international nearly opened his goalscoring account against Wigan – forcing Ali Al-Habsi into two fine saves in the second half of Saturday’s derby thriller.

“I had a couple of efforts,” he said. “I knew I’d caught the volley well and I thought it would short-hop him and go in. Al-Habsi made some big saves through the entire game.

“Jay Spearing also hit an absolute piledriver. I joked had it been (Blackburn keeper) Paul Robinson it might have gone in.

“Good players step up and keep their team in the game and he did that.”

But Ream thinks his side were left short-changed by referee Darren Drysdale shortly after half time, when he failed to send off Wigan defender Leon Barnett for a trip on Liam Trotter.

“I thought he was in on goal, so it could have been a professional foul,” he said. “It’s harder to tell from my angle whether he was last man or not. It’s not something we can make a call on.

“I think his next touch was a shot on goal or a settling touch for a shot on goal, so it’s without a doubt a goalscoring opportunity.”