Rovers are committed to funding their Category One academy which costs the club around £2m a year.

Steve Waggott and Academy chief Stuart Jones both confirmed the club would be aiming to maintain their current status when the next round of audits begin in September.

Rovers became just the second ever club to operate a Category One academy while in League One last season, but have seen their Under-23s side finish fifth in Premier League 2 this season.

A number of Damien Johnson’s squad have gone on to make impacts in the first team, with Tony Mowbray keen to integrate several more in his squad moving forward.

Chief Executive Waggott said: “We are going to continue as a Category One academy.

“The over-arching fees attached to that, the minimum requirement is investment of £3.1m.

“We get grants of just over £1.1m, so the club commits £2m towards the academy.

“The match programme sees us play against the top teams and Category One is very attractive to parents.”

The benefits from being Category One include the ability to bring in players from the age of six, more contact hours, better protection against players being plucked by the big six and a better games programme.

It has also helped Rovers attract players from other academies across the north west.

“From an academy perspective, and we’re coming to the last cycle of audits, moving forward the next audit cycle will take place from September onwards,” head of Academy Jones said.

“Regarding the requirements we have had to increase the staffing structure in the rules.

“The minimum spend has gone up, so there’s an extra investment there as well.

“In terms of the programme, we’re enhancing that for the young players to develop and that’s ultimately with the support of the owners and the board of directors, and the staff and the manager pushing that forward.

“It’s really important. People say what are the benefits but when it comes down to recruitment and getting the best young players, being a Category One academy enhances that.

“Some examples, we took Dan Butterworth and Joe Rankin-Costello from Manchester United. Not being a Category One academy it would have been difficult to attract those players.

“It’s really important for the club and for us to retain that status with the support of the owners, the board and the first team manager.”

Mowbray has been a key supporter of the Academy since taking over as first team boss in February 2017 and is a regular at Under-23s matches.

He added: “Category One allows our kids to play against the best kids at all ages, from Under-7s through to the Under-23s who obviously had to get promoted.

“As you have seen they have beaten Manchester City, Liverpool twice, and being a Category One club allows our players to get the belief from beating from these teams.

“I think it’s important they have inspiration. They could be playing against Crewe and Hartlepool, but to be playing against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, it gives them great confidence that they are not far away.

“I have to grab that and give them opportunities so they can smell the path to the first team. That’s why we have put them in the squad, take them along to away games.

“Then you give them an opportunity to play in the team and then their careers are up and running.

“I think the Academy do a great job. Damien is the man at the end to polish up all the work that’s been done before, whether the kids come in at six or 16.

“Stuart leads the Academy with the values of our club and what’s expected on the pitch. That’s how you have to grow it.

“You could go two or three years without producing one and everyone is saying ‘why aren’t you investing that money in a centre forward for the first team?’

“But we have to faith in the coaching staff, and our beliefs, and they keep producing, Damien polishes them up, gives them to me who puts them in the first team and then they are off and running.”