A summer restructure of the Professional Development Phase at Rovers is already paying dividends says U23s coach Gary McSheffrey.
While Paul Stancliffe is continuing his great work with the U18s, McSheffrey is now overseeing the U23s squad with John Schofield taking on a role with the first-team.
Now the changes have had time to bed in, McSheffrey believes he has given a boost to the players who are looking to bridge the gap from between U18s and senior football.
“They have got a smile on their face, in the summer they were perhaps a bit unsure as to where they were with the changes - that is a natural reaction, but something they have to deal with as footballers,” he said.
“We lost some players in the summer but we needed that stability the gaffer put in place and we’re really seeing the benefits now. They are training with the manager every Monday morning, they can all see there are spaces on the bench every week and the opportunity is going to be there.
“They have to step up, play adult football and show they are ready - there’s never been a better time at the club to stamp your authority on a game like this and get in the manager’s vision.
“The programme has kicked on a bit so we’ve had lots of games and the lads have been doing well."
Manager Darren Moore was instrumental in putting in place the new structure for Rovers U23s and believes it’s a programme the club can be proud of.
"The U23s been given a new programme and structure that we believe will make them more competitive," he said.
"Here at this club they can achieve as little or as much as they want - it won’t be for the want of an opportunity.
“When those opportunities do come, they will need to seize them with both hands and move forward with them.
“We feel proud of the programme we’ve put together because the U23s are an important group and we’ve got one or two really good players in there - this session plan will help bring them all on and get them nearer to the first team."
You can read more from Gary McSheffrey and Darren Moore about the Academy restructure in the winter issue of DNA Quarterly. There's also an interview with Danny Amos and a list of five Academy players to keep an eye on.
On Saturday Rovers fans can take advantage of the matchday offer of just £5 for the latest issue of DNA Quarterly and a matchday programme - saving £2 off the cover prices as part of a bundle deal. Pick up your copy on Saturday 21 December as Rovers face Accrington Stanley at 3pm.