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Johnson takes up Under-21 role

9 July 2015

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Rovers are delighted to announce the appointment of Damien Johnson as the club's new Under-21 lead coach.

The former Northern Ireland international, who came through Rovers' youth ranks to make over 80 appearances for the first team, moves up from his role as Under-14 coach at the Academy.

The 36-year-old takes over from Eric Kinder, who brought Johnson back to the club after being appointed Rovers' Head of Academy in March.

"It has been a great few months being back at the club, so I'm delighted to be given this opportunity and I'm really looking forward to it," said the former Rovers and Birmingham midfielder.

"Everyone has been brilliant, the staff have been very welcoming and everyone has made me feel right at home."

Johnson's appointment sees him reunited with Under-21 assistant coach John Filan. The pair were team-mates during their playing days at Ewood Park and will now share the same touchline in charge of the development squad.

"I had a great relationship with John when we played together and he's been brilliant with me in my first few days in the job," Johnson added.

"Over the years you go your separate ways, but it has clicked once again and it has fallen into place. Along with Matt Busby and Craig Lawlor, there is a really strong Under-21 coaching team and I'm just delighted to be a part of that now."

Having been back in pre-season training for a couple of weeks, the Under-21s play their first friendly of the summer this weekend, against Northern Premier League Division One North side Burscough, and Johnson can't wait to see his young side in action.

"I've heard good things about them and I know they did really well to reach their cup final last year, and so far they've not let me down - they've applied themselves really well," he added.

"Training has been good, but all players look forward to games and that is when we can really measure their progress and fitness. At the minute, it is all about their fitness and building it up, but it will be great to see them in a match situation.

"The league fixtures are out now too and I'm really looking forward to it all."

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