BURTON Albion midfielder Ciaran Gilligan has signed a new contract at the Pirelli Stadium, keeping him at the club until the end of next season with the option of a third year.
Gilligan, who signed his first professional contract in the summer prior to agreeing fresh terms, is the latest Academy graduate to break into the Brewers first team having made 11 appearances in all competitions this term, including five Sky Bet League One starts.
Following the same pathway trodden by the likes of current first-team players Ben Fox and Reece Hutchinson, as well as the likes of Marcus Harness, Joe Sbarra and Matt Palmer in years previous, Gilligan has established himself in the first team squad.
The youngster has impressed both on and off the ball, and manager Jake Buxton says the new deal is the ideal way to reward Gilligan for his start to life as a senior footballer.
Buxton said: “It’s a reward for his performances this season. He has been given an opportunity and he has taken it.
“We expected him to stay around the first team and not go out on loan but not to play as much as he has done so that’s credit to Ciaran.
“His performance levels have been very good, and he’s been low maintenance. Whatever we have asked him to do he has just got on with the work.
“His all-round game has been very good, his aggression in his tackling and when we have won the ball and got on the front foot a lot of the good play has come from him.
“It’s important for Burton Albion to have two or three players that graduate from the Academy every year and the track record over the last three or four years has been that. That needs to continue as long as the quality is the same standard.”
Gilligan is delighted to have signed fresh terms and is keen to keep learning and developing his game having broken into the senior ranks.
“I’m buzzing to have got it tied down for a couple more years,” said Gilligan.
“Obviously there are always going to be highs and lows to come, being a young player, so it gives me that time to keep learning.
“Knowing I will be at the club for the foreseeable future, I’m really happy that the gaffer has put the trust in me and given me a new deal.
“I’ve only ever been at Burton’s Academy so I’m basically a product of what the coaches have put into me, the advice they’ve given me and the experiences they’ve put me through.
“It’s all helped me and I think that’s why the transition has been a lot easier than perhaps it would be at other clubs, because of how they do the scholarship. It gets you ready for men’s football.”