Rovers' bid for a first FA Youth Cup crown in more than 60 years isn’t over – as the Football Association has maintained its stance to play this season’s competition to a conclusion.

The FA will wait until it feels Academy football is able, and safe, to return with the top tiers of youth football having been curtailed in May.

By then the 2019/20 FA Youth Cup should have been concluded, with Rovers having been due to host Manchester City in the semi-finals of the competition in March, with the winner set to face either Manchester United or Chelsea in the April final.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has shelved those plans for now, with no firm date yet as to when it may be played to a conclusion, despite Rovers, and the FA, being keen for it to do so.

Rovers reached the last four with a stunning quarter final win over Arsenal, dispatching of the Gunners 4-1 having seen off Preston, Charlton and Newport in the earlier rounds, all at Ewood.

Winners of the competition in 1959, they have been runners-up three times since.

Mike Sheron’s group have been rewarded for their efforts throughout the season by agreeing their first professional deals.

Isaac Whitehall and Jake Garrett had both agreed long-term deals earlier this year, before goalkeeper Jordan Eastham followed suit with a two-year contract.

Dan Pike, Jalil Saadi, Sam Durrant, Luke Brennan and Sam Burns all signed one-year extensions, with the offer to central defender Flavien Enzo Boyomo remaining unsigned. They have since added to their youth ranks with the addition of Tyrhys Dolan, the talented attacker having impressed, and scored, in their Youth Cup meeting.

Dolan was a former team-mate at Manchester City with D’Margio Wright-Phillips who starred in the Arsenal win, during his loan spell at Ewood Park.

He would have been ineligible for the semi-final, and still under contract at City, he has now returned to the Premier League club, though Rovers haven’t ruled the prospect of securing the teenager on a permanent deal.

As well as a learning curve for the players, many who have stepped up to feature for the Under-23s, it was a first season in charge for boss Mike Sheron.

He was one of three internal promotions within the club, with Damien Johnson stepping up to the first-team from the Under-23s, with his role taken by Billy Barr.

His move from the Under-18s presented an opening for Sheron, who was previously assistant to Barr, with Ryan Kidd brought in from Bury as his No.2.

So while it has been a season of change, it’s been one that Sheron has embraced, and enjoyed.

He said: “I’ve really enjoyed the season and I’m really grateful to have been given the opportunity.

“I’ve worked with some of the lads for a while  which generates a bit of trust. It was very beneficial from my point of view to continue working with players who I’ve known for quite a while.

“It has been difficult within the games programmes at the weekends because we struggled for quite a bit. We’ve been competitive this season in the league, even though we’ve not won as many games as we’d have liked.

“They’ve progressed really well.

“The development in the Youth Cup has been particularly impressive.”

Like their Under-23s counterparts, time was called on the Under-18s season in March.

At that time Rovers had won four of their 15 matches, but were often reliant on schoolboys stepping up as many of Sheron’s regulars in the Youth Cup side were away with the Under-23s.

“These lads have been through a lot during their time with the club, they’ve had some tough days, playing against the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool,” he told the club website.

“This is a group of lads who have all committed to getting better on and off the pitch.

“They’ve had good days and bad days, but ultimately we want them developing.”