Rovers’ U18 team returned to pre-season training on Thursday morning to be put through their paces under the eyes of Paul Stancliffe and his coaching team.
The U18 manager is excited to be starting his 16th season at the club as his side looks to build on their second placed finish last season in the EFL North East Youth Division.
Stancliffe said: “You always need a rest at the end of the season, but it is always good to come back. All the staff and players are chomping at the bit and are ready to go again.
“We try to be very similar to the first-team with what we do during pre-season. We may have to scale it down a little bit because a new intake of players come in who have left school and some are still growing so we are taking everything medically into account when planning.
“They’ve been out running on their first morning which really tested them, but they rose to the challenge. We then got the balls out and went through some passing drills so it had been a very productive first day back.”
Stancliffe is keen to build on the success of last season where his side were runners-up in the Youth Alliance League along with professional deals being handed to AJ Greaves, Branden Horton, Myron Gibbons and Rieves Boocock.
He added: “Last season was great and it was disappointing not to come away with winning the league because I genuinely thought that they deserved to win it based on performances and the way they had adapted throughout the season.
“It was still a great season and other than position in the league, you look at it and four out of the eight second-years get a professional contract with three of those making their first-team debuts.
“The bar has been set very high after last year, but we have to be realistic in the aims we give the players because we want to make sure it is within their reach. That’s why we have pre-season to spend this time to assess what we’ve got.”
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