It’s a difficult time of the year for our second year scholars, and for our Academy staff, as decisions are made as to who should be awarded pro contracts.
Five scholars have now been offered the opportunity of joining the pro ranks next season and we offer our congratulations to those who will be joining the pro ranks next season, namely Connor Jones, Lewis Ellington, Luke Russe, Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and Sam Blake.
“In the case of Lewis Leigh-Gilchrist and Sam Blake,” said Academy Manager Jonny Henderson, they have initially been offered short term contracts as both missed long periods of the season through injury. There is an option to extend their deals once they are fully fit.
“We hold them both in high regard and feel that, had they not been injured, they would have been offered pro deals in any case.
“We all really feel for the boys who haven’t been offered pro deals, but we will do all we can to help them in the future.
“As U-21 coach Chris Hargreaves says, Bristol Rovers doesn’t define their careers and they shouldn’t feel that it’s the end of the road, it’s just that there isn’t an opportunity for them with us at this moment in time.
“The game is littered with players who have been rejected and gone on to become pros with other clubs and our own Chris Lines is an obvious example of someone who has been through that rejection process and come back to enjoy a very successful career.”
Jonny and his staff have, at the moment, 16 scholars in place for next season, though that number could increase as they are still looking for a goalkeeper to join them.
The following players have come in from our U-16 programme; Jamie Bremner, Osian Dillon, Josh Bailey, Lewis Clutton, Tom Mehew, Jack Sell, Lucas Tomlinson and Harry Warwick who will step up to become second year scholars and they will be joined by former Oxford Academy player Scott Ischerwood, the first scholar to join us from outside of our programme for three years.
Goalkeeper Liam Armstrong steps up from being on schoolboy forms to become a scholar and Alfie Clarke, Matt Swan, Josh Brace, James Spruce, Harrison Chamberlain and Jordan Carey step up to become second year scholars.