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Johnson joins first team staff

Under-23s head coach handed new role by manager Tony Mowbray

2 July 2019

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Rovers are pleased to announce that Under-23s head coach Damien Johnson has been promoted to the role of first team technical coach and head of player development.

Johnson, who came through Rovers’ youth ranks and went on to make over 80 appearances in blue-and-white between 1997 and 2002, returned to the club as an Academy coach in April 2015.

The former midfielder moved up to the Senior Training Centre that summer to take charge of the Under-21s and guided the development squad to the Premier League 2 Division 2 title in 2017-18.

Last season, Johnson steered Rovers Under-23s to a fifth-place finish in the PL2 top flight, as well as securing the Lancashire FA Senior Cup for the first time since 2011 courtesy of a 2-0 victory over local rivals Burnley in the final.

The 40-year-old has also played a pivotal role in the development of a number of Rovers’ rising stars in recent years and will continue to do so in his new role.

David Raya, Ryan Nyambe, Lewis Travis and Scott Wharton have all made the successful step up to first team football under Johnson’s watch, whilst fellow Academy graduates Dan Butterworth, John Buckley, Joe Grayson and Tyler Magloire all made their senior debuts for the club last season.

The former Northern Ireland international, who earned 56 caps for his country, is looking forward to this new chapter in his coaching career, with the 2019-20 Championship campaign now just over a month away.

"I'm delighted, it's a fantastic opportunity for me to take on the role,” said Johnson.

"When I was asked about stepping up, it was a chance I just couldn't turn down.

"It was a very tough decision to leave the Under-23s. I've said before that it's a job I've really enjoyed, working with the likes of Stuart Jones, Tony Carss and the rest of the staff at the Academy.

"Tony (Mowbray) and I spoke at length about the role and what's needed, and it was something that really excited me. To work with the gaffer, who is so supportive, is a fantastic opportunity.

"It's a club that has played a huge part in my career, both as a player and a coach, and gave me my first opportunity in first team football.

"It's vitally important to continue the pathway for players from Under-23s football to the first team, which is something we've done a lot over the years.

"The players need to make that transition from development squad football to the first team and that's the challenge for them."

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