Rovers were beneficiaries of the points-per-game model implemented in Premier League 2 as they climbed two places to finish seventh.

The Under-23s league was curtailed in May with Rovers sitting ninth in the top tier of Academy football, with 21 points from their 17 games.

However, their games in hand over Manchester City and last season’s champions Everton saw them leapfrog the pair to finish in seventh spot.

An impressive end to 2018/19, their first season back in the top-flight after winning the Division Two title in 2017/18, saw Damien Johnson’s side finish in fifth spot.

There was no change at the top, as Chelsea were crowned champions, or at the bottom, where Wolves were relegated.

Three new Academies have now been granted Category One status, meaning Leeds United, Burnley, and Crystal Palace will join the second tier.

West Ham will be promoted to Premier League 2 as Division Two champions, alongside Manchester United who will next season be part of a 13-team top flight.

It meant a successful first season in charge for Billy Barr as he replaced Damien Johnson in the hotseat after his promotion to the first-team set-up.

Barr, who had previously been working with the Under-18s, guided Rovers to a second successive Lancashire Senior Cup final, as well as the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup.

Rovers will next season be one of two Championship clubs, alongside Derby, who finished fourth, operated in Premier League 2.

Barr is likely to see the likes of Hayden Carter, Joe Rankin-Costello, Dan Butterworth and Jack Vale become regulars in the first-team set-up next season, but will welcome more members of the Under-18s side who made it through to the FA Youth Cup last four, of which it is still hoped will be played to a conclusion.

Rovers have also added Tyrhys Dolan, formerly of Preston North End, to their ranks, but Barr foresees another difficult task ahead for his side.

“We’re punching above our weight, consistently,” the Under-23s boss said.

“Over the course of this season and last season there’s been some really good performances and results.”

“I’ve worked with a lot of these lads for five years so it’s nice to see their development to where they are now and it’s about them going to where we want them to.”

Barr’s job will be to continue the long line of Academy graduates making an impact on the first-team stage, with Carter and Rankin-Costello having been regulars in Tony Mowbray’s matchday squads in 2020.

Academies will play an ever increasing role in clubs’ futures as the count the cost of the pandemic, with Rovers tasked with trying to continue their success rate of bringing players through.

And reflecting on his first year in the job, Barr added: “Personally I think it’s been a success. We’ve never had the same team for successive games, there’s always been pros playing down, or young lads playing up,” Barr added.

“I think the lads can be really proud of where we were in the league, and it was nice to get through to the Lancashire Senior Cup final, and to get through in the Premier League Cup.

“From my point of view I’m really happy with the development of the group and hopefully that can continue next season.”

Meanwhile, despite reaching the last four of the FA Youth Cup, with a semi-final against Manchester City hopefully on the horizon, Rovers Under-18s were confirmed as finishing second bottom of the Under-18s Premier League.

Only Sunderland, who were winless in their 16 matches, finished below them.

It is expected that Leeds United and Burnley will join the northern division of the Under-18s Premier League meaning an expansion of that league to 14 teams.

No date for the resumption of Academy football has been set.