TONY PULIS believes that the 'rags to riches' success story of Jon Walters should act as an inspiration to many other players who have found themselves in his situation.

The £2.75 million signing from Ipswich Town struck his first Premier League goal to sink Blackburn Rovers, the club where he began his career, at the Britannia Stadium.

It was another momentous step for Walters, who spent time in the lower leagues after failing to make his mark at the top when he had spells at Blackburn and Bolton Wanderers.


"Jon's emergence is an example to others and I certainly believe there are players out there who can also make the step up, given the chance," said Pulis after the 1-0 win over Rovers.

"He is a great professional and the other lads have really taken to him. We have the players with silky skills like Etherington and Pennant on the wings and Jones up front. But you need a good mix of talent and Jon has shown what a fantastic professional he is since he has come here."

He added: "His effort and determination has really caught the eye and I am delighted that he has got his reward for that on this occasion. I believe he will become a big favourite at this club."

Walters began his career at Blackburn and then had a short spell at Bolton Wanderers who were managed by Sam Allardyce at the time. Now in charge of Rovers, of course, he was among those who praised the 27-year-old striker following his matchwinning performance.

When things didn't work out for him at Blackburn or Bolton, he had spells with Wrexham and Chester City before he started to work his way back up with Ipswich Town.

Pulis has long been an admirer of the Republic of Ireland B international and admitted: "We tried to sign him twelve months ago but we couldn't come to an agreement then.

"But we have kept a close eye on him and because of his contract situation, we were able to do deal that made everyone happy . . . the player, Ipswich and, of course, this club."