Given the unique nature of what John Buckley and Tyler Magloire have done in transitioning from fledgling Academy prospect to a first team debut, a key part of Rovers’ Academy development remains recruiting players.

Lewis Travis has flourished on the first team scene within the last 18 months, having been snared by Rovers at the age of 14 when leaving Liverpool.

Dan Butterworth has two Carabao Cup appearances to his name, and looks the most likely of Damien Johnson’s Under-23s side to be handed an opportunity in the Championship before the season is out.

The 19-year-old, who penned a long-term contract extension last week, arrived at Rovers in the 2015/16 season, after his release from Manchester United, a path also taken by another of the club’s rising prospects. Joe Rankin-Costello.

While Rovers’ geography can work against them, given the heavyweight Premier League clubs within striking distance, they are well placed to compete for any players who leave such clubs.

And maintaining Category One status enables them to do that, as does the pathway to the first team that has seen 11 players graduate through the academy to make their first team debuts since Tony Mowbray took over in February 2017.

“That will always be there. We try and get them in as early as we can and get them in to our development programme but there are good players coming out of those clubs that we have to be competing for and selling our football club,” head of Academy Stuart Jones said.

“The likes of Buckley and Tyler and (Ryan) Nyambe and (David) Raya, those lads getting in to the first team shows that there is a pathway for players.

“So when those players become available from the so-called bigger clubs, we are right at the front of the queue.

“Category One is massive in terms of that, but there are opportunities at this club.

“Where we’re at as an Academy we have some really good talent are really competitive in our recruitment in bringing them in.

“It shows that on the grass we can competitive with the boys that we’ve got.

“It’s always a huge challenge where we are geographically but as an Academy we are one of the first choices of those lads that drop out of the bigger clubs because of what we can offer.”

Rovers have casted their net much wider than simply the north west in recent years.

Talented youngster Vilius Piliukaitis arrived from his native Lithuania on a season-long loan deal last summer, with Rovers looking to tie him down to a permanent contract.

Central defender Louie Annesley was signed in January from Lincoln Red Imps, with the Gibraltar international part of Damien Johnson’s Under-23s squad.

Closer to home, Rovers brought in Brad Lyons from semi-professional side Coleraine, after an initial trial spell, with the 21-year-old central midfielder loaned to Scottish Premier Division side St Mirren having impressed for Rovers Under-23s.

Mowbray has upgraded Rovers’ scouting and recruitment department within the last 12 months, with scouts now travelling to Europe in search of the next top talent.

And Jones said: “The gaffer has brought in the new recruitment set-up and part of that, (head of recruitment) Stuart Harvey has moved up, he was part of the Academy.

“It is broadening our search of talent and that includes looking around Europe.

“Ultimately it’s about trying to recruit the best possible players we can for this football club.

“That’s becoming a bigger part of the process, not just as first team level but filtering down through the Academy.”

Five Academy graduates finished last weekend’s game at Sheffield Wednesday, with Rovers continuing to produce talent through their ranks.

Ten scholars have been signed up for next season, taking the number within Billy Barr’s Under-18s group to 20.

Rovers have been proactive with deals for their most talented prospects, with Travis, Jack Vale, Butterworth, Buckley and Magloire under long-term contracts.

The departure of Callum Wright to Leicester City last January, threatened Rovers’ model, with the 17-year-old leaving for an undisclosed fee after failing to sign professional terms with the club, despite their best attempts.

On the lessons learned from that, Jones added: “We have to look after the assets in the building and any young players we feel have a real chance we have to look after them and tie them down.

“There’s always that challenge that the so-called bigger clubs will be looking at our talent.

“That’s one thing that of late we’ve tried to tie down young players to long contracts and it’s really important for the football club.

“Next season, we are bringing through another 10 scholars so there will be 20 across the Under-18s.

“Damien (Johnson) has a core group that has come through together. It’s a challenge and continues to be in terms of getting the best group of Under-18s, but we’re excited.

“There’s a lot of talent in the building.”