BURTON Albion Academy graduate Ciaran Gilligan has signed a brand new contract at the Pirelli Stadium until at least the summer of 2024.
The 20-year-old broke into the first team last season after signing his first professional deal, having first come into the Academy system at nine years old.
Gilligan has made 32 first-team appearances in total, coming back into the fold in recent months after a difficult first half to the year with injuries.
The youngster has even earned international honours - receiving a call-up to the Republic of Ireland's U20s squad and starting against an Irish Amateur selection, following call-ups to the U19s squad.
"I'm really happy, and to get it done before the end of the season because it allows me to focus on the last few games we've got," said Gilligan.
"It allows me to be secure at this club for the next two years, to keep building and to develop into one of the first names on the teamsheet.
"Being at the club for so long, I know it inside and out, and it was an easy decision - it's where I'm best at to develop.
"The gaffer (Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink) wants me to keep going and to keep playing games. I know what he wants from me on the pitch - he's going to keep being honest with me, and tell me how it is, so I'm really looking forward to keep working under him."
Gilligan did not play much part in our 2021 pre-season due to injury, which left the youngster on the back foot and unable initially to force his way back into the reckoning.
But now, with this second half of the season behind him, the young midfielder's aim is to steer clear of those injuries and get that full season under his belt.
"Obviously it's been difficult, but it's part and parcel of football and I understood (when I was fit) it would be difficult for me (initially) to get a look in," said Gilligan.
"So I just had to keep patient. Now it's about pushing on from that, and building on it.
"All the lads would have been fit and raring to go for the season, and I had to build myself back up. I had a good couple of months then, keeping injury-free and getting fitter, and when my chance came I felt it was the perfect time.
"I'm getting better with my body and knowing what I need to do to prepare for games and training.
"And that's my aim for next season now - I've not had a full season injury-free for a few years now, so I'm aiming for that and I'll see where it takes me."
Congratulations on your new deal, Ciaran!