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Development Squad

Billy Barr named Under-23s boss

Barr steps up from his role with Rovers' U18s to take charge of the U23s

19 August 2019

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Rovers are pleased to announce the appointment of Billy Barr as the club's new Under-23s head coach.

Barr is promoted from his role with Rovers' Under-18s and fills the position vacated by Damien Johnson, who joined Tony Mowbray's first team setup as a technical coach in the summer.

A former full-back, who represented hometown team Halifax Town, Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle United, Barr enjoyed spells as a first team coach at Preston North End and Sheffield Wednesday, before twice taking Wrexham to Wembley during his time as assistant manager.

Following a short spell as Wrexham's caretaker manager, Barr arrived at Rovers in December 2014 as lead youth development phase coach, before stepping up to take charge of the Under-18s.

Whilst working at the Academy, Barr has played a pivotal role in the development of a host of Rovers' rising stars, including the likes of Lewis Travis, Ryan Nyambe, John Buckley, Dan Butterworth, Tyler Magloire and Joe Grayson, and he will now look to guide more players from the Under-23s into Tony Mowbray's senior squad.

"I'm very pleased to get this opportunity," said Billy, who will be in the dugout for the Under-23s' Premier League 2 clash against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium tonight. 

"I've been at the club for nearly five years now, it's my second promotion up the coaching ladder, but more importantly I'm excited about the group of players I'm going to work with again.

"They've all come through the Academy, a lot of good work has gone into them from a lot of people, and now we've got to try and recreate last year's feel-good factor within in the group. 

"I really enjoyed my life at the Academy and I'm leaving a really good job behind, but we all work very closely together and hopefully this unites us and brings us even closer together.

"It's been a while since I've been around a first team environment, but I'm looking forward to getting to know and building relationships with all of the players and to help them in any way that I can."

Rovers' Head of Academy, Stuart Jones, who led the recruitment process, says Barr's experience and expertise, as well as his knowledge of the club's players, procedures and games programme, set him apart from the other candidates.

"The process was really thorough and a variety of staff were involved, including myself, Tony Carss and Tony Mowbray, in order to identify the best candidate for the job and, ultimately, Billy has been given the post on that basis.

"It's great that he's been appointed from within and, from our perspective, I think it's really important that we have a pathway for staff within the Academy.

"Billy has got great experience, in terms of his work in youth development and with senior players, he's highly qualified and, ultimately, he's worked with players who are now in the Under-23s, who have come through the Academy system, so he has a great understanding of those boys and he has played a part in their development."

Rovers can also confirm that Mike Sheron has agreed to take on the role of Under-18s lead coach, having spent several seasons as professional development phase assistant coach.

Jones added: "It's great for Mike. He was obviously assistant to Billy with the Under-18s and, again, he has shown over the time that he's been with us that he's ready for that challenge of taking on the lead role.

"I'm sure that Mike will put his own stamp on it and it's a great opportunity for him, which is fully deserved."

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