Rovers Under-18s are impressing all observers, but for those inside the club their success comes as no surprise.

Ryan Kidd’s side are top of the Under-18s Premier League, with only one defeat in 11 games, and they face Burnley this afternoon with a two-point gap to Manchester City and a game in hand.

They are into the last 16 of the FA Youth Cup after impressive wins over Birmingham City and Stoke City and they face Sheffield Wednesday with a quarter final place at stake for the winner at Ewood Park on Thursday night.

This crop is one Rovers have been excited about for some time, showing their credentials as early as 2018 when, as Under-14s, they reached the national finals, only to lose on penalties, and then celebrated success in Portugal by winning the Ibercup.

They will be expected to go deep in this competition, two years after Rovers reached the semi-finals, with several individuals already catching the eye.

Nine of the side that started the win over Stoke City have already featured for the Under-23s, five starting the Under-23s defeat to Manchester City ahead of the win over the Potters.

Ash Phillips and Adam Wharton were also part of the first-team squad for the FA Cup tie at Wigan Athletic, while top scorer Harry Leonard has already put pen-to-paper on his first professional deal.

Coach Darragh Tuffy says there is no shortage of belief in the group, nor do they lack confidence, and he says it’s about ensuring their workrate off the ball is at the same level as their ability with it.

If it is, he says they will take some stopping.

“I think one of the big things about this group especially, they’ve been together a long time,” he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“The second years, when they were little at Under-14s they got to the national finals and lost on penalties.

“We’ve always known the team itself has been very strong.

“There’s no lack of confidence in the team, they know what they’re capable of. We remind them of that.

“The big thing is that we get the out of possession, that workrate, thing right then we know we’ve got quality to hurt any team.

“That’s the big one. The sky is the limit for some and let’s hope they can keep progressing in the second half of the season.”

Centre back Phillips, left back Jake Batty and midfielder Adam Caddick are in the first 12 months of their two-year scholarships, with the rest of the starting line-up for the Stoke win all in their second years.

Leonard scored a fine free-kick to put Rovers two up before the break, the striker averaging more than a goal at Under-18s level and has already earned his chance for Mike Sheron’s Under-23s side.

Midfield duo Charlie Weston and Wharton, younger brother of first-team star Scott, as well as central defender Phillips have already represented England at youth level throughout their careers.

The majority of the squad have been with the club for several years already, the one exception being goalkeeper Felix Goddard who was brought in from Manchester City in 2019.

That close connection has aided their success and there was no shortage of togetherness in the fourth round win.

Several of the group are already training with Tony Mowbray’s first-team group, the manager speaking in glowing terms of the quality coming through the ranks, this at a time when five of the regular starting line-up at senior level having come through the Brockhall production line.

“The Academy, we’re really excited by the Under-18s and hopefully they can keep performing at the level,” he said.

“There’s two or three in that team that we have really high hopes for.

“While the Academy is producing and you’re buying young players as well, that you feel will supplement, hopefully the team keeps pushing on upwards. That’s the plan.

“I just want us to progress and keep moving forward.”

The Under-18s went a month between matches, no league fixture between the 5-1 win Youth Cup win over Birmingham City and the fourth round success against Stoke City.

While the opening quarter was an even game, Rovers didn’t look back from the minute Wood put them ahead before the half hour.

Leonard scored a fine free-kick just before the break, with Wood ensuring it was game-over a minute after the re-start with a fine individual goal.

“The biggest thing about the Youth Cup is dealing with the pressure,” Tuffy added.

“Ultimately for us it’s just another game, but how they deal with the pressure is the biggest thing because there is more talk.

“That’s the big one, making sure they get better at handling that but there’s bigger tests ahead for them in their careers.

“This isn’t what defines their career. Hopefully in the second half of the season we can push as many of the boys who deserve a chance into the Under-23s and hopefully they can stay there.

“If that’s to the detriment of our league form then so be it, our job is to push these boys on.”

They put five goals past Leeds United last weekend and face the Clarets this afternoon (1pm).

Sheffield Wednesday await in round five, but Tuffy says the message remains the same.

“We know we have some really talented footballers in there and when we can match the opposition’s workrate and endeavour we feel we can be a match for everyone,” he explained.

“That’s probably one of the most pleasing aspects.

“That’s a massive part of what we do at every age level throughout the Academy, so we were pleased with that.”