George Pratt has followed central defensive partner Patrick Gamble in signing his first professional contract.

Pratt is the latest of Rovers’ promising crop of scholars to sign professional terms with Rovers which will take effect immediately.

Whereas Gamble signed a one-year deal, Pratt has been handed a two-year contract by Rovers, and will look to establish himself in Mike Sheron’s Under-21s side next season.

The teenager made 12 Premier League 2 appearances in 2021/22, and will be aiming for more next term in what will be a competitive area of the pitch, with Ash Phillips, Sam Barnes and Louie Annesley under contract, with Jalil Saadi set to follow suit.

While Barnes and Annesley could be loaned out, that may open the door for both Pratt and Gamble who were a steadying force for Ryan Kidd’s Under-18s side who reached the last eight of the FA Youth Cup and led the Premier League North Division for the first half of the campaign.

But it is the future that is the main concern for Pratt now after agreeing a deal through to 2024.

He said: “The hard work continues for me now. I can’t let up now I’ve signed the deal. This is the stepping stone for people to see what I can do and to create an impression on everyone at the club.”

Pratt was spotted by Rovers playing Sunday football in his home city of Bradford, before being handed a scholarship in 2019.

He had a short loan spell at Northern Premier League side Hyde United, as well as featuring for Rovers’ Academy sides, and now has a professional contract to show for his progress.

Reflecting on his journey, he said: “Casting my mind back to playing grassroots football just a few years ago, to where I am now, it’s hard to find the words to describe just how good the feeling is.

“It’s been three years and I feel I’ve progressed quite well to go from playing grassroots to earning a professional contract, it’s not something that happens too often.

“The last year in particular has been brilliant and there’s been a lot of positives for me to take. I’ve featured quite a bit for the Under-23s and it’s been good to play with and against some more experienced players.

“I think the only disappointment is not getting further in the FA Youth Cup. I really did feel we had a great chance of going all the way in that competition.

“In the league, we were flying high for the first half of the campaign and I think there was always going to be a little drop off, with a few of the lads moving up to the Under-23s and helping the team stay up. It’s been great for everyone’s development though to get that chance.”


Gain unlimited access to the Lancashire Telegraph website with a premium digital subscription with a one month FREE trial