Rovers U18s - current Youth Alliance champions - are underway with their preparations for the 2020/21 campaign.
Ben Bottomley, Max Jemson, Lewis Cunningham, Charlie Bell, Ethan Bojang, Josh Clemitson, Liam Ravenhill, Luca Nelson and Owan Derrett will enter their second and final year of the apprenticeship as they aim to follow in the foot steps of Lirak Hasani and Ben Blythe from last season in securing a professional contract at the club.
Joining them is a selection of first year scholars who have worked their way through the Academy. Goalkeeper Luke Chadwick, defenders Thomas Henson and Michael Nesbitt, midfielders Corie Cole, William Hollings and Daniel Wilds, and forwards Tavonga Kuleya and Aleksander Wolny will all make the step up and will work with Paul Stancliffe and his coaching team for the new season.
Last season the U18s claimed the title for the EFL North East Youth Division for the first time in their history. This came after two seasons finishing high up the table competing for the title on a consistent basis. Stancliffe will be aiming for similar success in 20/21.
Luke Chadwick and Alek Wolny have already had a taste of U18 football. Chadwick made his first appearance at 15-years-old against Rotherham United in a 2-1 defeat. The result could have been worse for Rovers had he not pulled off two remarkable penalty saves. Alek Wolny has registered a couple of substitute appearances for the U18s in the last year.