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19 October 2016

YOUNG Academy product Joe Sbarra has signed his first professional contract with Burton Albion which will run until June 2018.

The 17-year-old has been in fantastic form for the under 18s this season, scoring three times in his last three outings, while he also scored a hat trick for the development squad against Bradford City and one against Wrexham most recently.

His goals and performances are something that caught the attention of first team manager Nigel Clough, who included Sbarra amongst his substitutes for the Championship defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion.

The youngster said: "Im ecstatic - it's a moment I've been dreaming of since I was little so it's unbelievable.

"I think my game has really improved and I have just been enjoying it a lot - it's the most I've enjoyed football for all of my life so I'll just keep playing and keep working hard."

Nigel Clough said: "He's signed a professional deal and done very well in the last six months or so. He's a regular, although he's 17, in the under-23 team now. I'm delighted he's committed and he's another young player that we'll try our best  to bring through."

Academy manager Dan Robinson said: "Since I have been in the role Joe has shown the football ability and more importantly the character we are looking for from our young players.

"He has potential to have a long and successful professional career if he continues to work hard on and off the pitch."

Sam Rose, professional development phase coach, believes that Sbarra’s success is down to the player’s strong work ethic and desire, and sees a bright future for the forward.

“You can’t question Joe’s commitment; he is always going to do his very best whether he is playing with under 16s or the first team.”

Sbarra will wear the squad number 26.

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