Doncaster Rovers considering upgrading their Academy to Category Two status

Kieran Scarff
Kieran Scarff
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Doncaster Rovers are examining the possibility of upgrading the club’s Academy, it has been revealed.

Speaking at the bi-annual Meet The Owners event last week, chief executive Gavin Baldwin said Academy head Kieran Scarff had been tasked with producing a report detailing the costs and benefits of moving from Category Three status to Category Two.

“What the board has challenged Kieran to do is look at the benefit of a Cat Two Academy,” Baldwin said.

“That obviously comes with costs, so then we can understand the decision-making process to either support that or confirm our status as having a very good Cat Three Academy.

“We’ve got an EPPP audit in approximately 12 months which will confirm that status.

“The Academy currently costs the owners a significant sum of money as a Cat Three and that’s what we’ve got to understand.

“There would be more investment and it’s about measuring that investment against the benefits.

“The basic model for a Cat Three Academy is that £450,000 needs to be spent on it.”

A significant factor in a club moving from Category Three to Category Two is having access to indoor training facilities.

Scarff was appointed Academy chief in August, reuniting with Darren Ferguson and assistant Gavin Strachan with whom he worked at Peterborough United.

Both Scarff and Ferguson were praised by Baldwin for improvements made to the Academy system and routes into the first team.

He said: “Kieran has made a significant improvement, working in partnership with Darren, to the Academy.

“The board have gone through the statistics and something like 70 per cent of first team matches have included a youth team player.

“We’re looking at the current productivity for the team.

“It’s something Darren has changed the culture of the club with, my thinking and the board’s thinking.

“Kieran has been recruited to fulfil that strategy.

“We’ve got a good Cat Three Academy, have aspirations to be the best Cat Three Academy but also understand the benefit of a Cat Two Academy.”

Rovers have enjoyed good Academy productivity in recent years with the likes of Harry Middleton, Mitchell Lund and Liam Mandeville all featuring regularly for the senior squad.

Scarff revealed his target is to consistently deliver players into the first team squad.

He said: “I think it’s really important as a club that we start to consistently produce players to play in the first team.

“It marries with the vision of being a sustainable club.

“We need to have a sustainable Cat Two Academy. That is the ambition but we have to make sure we’re in a strong position in our audit process next year.

“And with the continued support we get at Academy level, to produce the players the manager wants to see in his first team.”