A TRIO of Burton Albion Academy prospects have signed professional deals with the club.
Defenders Ben Hart and Nathan Morley have signed six-month deals with the Brewers, while 2018/19 Scholar of the Year Ethan Vale has signed a one-year contract with the option of a further year.
Hart was named on the bench for our final two Checkatrade Trophy fixtures against Port Vale and Middlesbrough under 21s, while Morley has spent time with Matlock Town this season, gaining experience of men’s football.
Vale won his accolade after a successful season in the EFL Youth Alliance, where the proved to be a crucial cog in the Young Brewers midfield. His set-pieces were the catalyst for many goals this season, whether he was finding teammates with balls into the box or scoring eye-catching strikes from dead ball situations.
The 2018/19 season was a successful one for Academy graduates playing in the first team. Marcus Harness, Ben Fox, Joe Sbarra and Reece Hutchinson made a combined 122 appearances in all competitions, while being directly involved in more than a quarter of the first team’s league goals.
The latest trio of graduates means that the Academy has now produced eight of the current first team squad, despite existing for less than a decade.
Manager Nigel Clough said: “One of the highlights of the season was the way that the Academy graduates performed. They made 122 appearances between them, and that is not including John Brayford who came through the Academy in a different incarnation.
“It is a lot of local young players, that is what we are going to have to do and it is lovely to see another three coming through.
“The Academy is a vital part of the club and it will be going forward. We have to be as good as we can with our Academy. By far, the most economical way of producing players for your first team is through the Academy. We will continue to strive to do that.”
Academy Manager Dan Robinson said: "It’s great for them and great for us as an Academy. Our aim is to help them develop as people as well as players and these three have come through their scolarships and have now come out the other side and are now in the thoughts of the manager for next season.
"Everyone at the club is excited about them as they have gone from making cups of tea and helping out in and around the place as part of their scholarships, to hopefully kicking on with the first team and making progress next season."