Whilst picking up his Unsung Hero award at the End of Season Awards evening, Damien Johnson was quick to heap praise on a number of staff who play their part in the development of Rovers’ young talent.
Following the Under-23s’ exploits in both the top tier of Premier League 2, after promotion last term, Johnson’s youngsters also reached the quarter-finals stage of the Premier League Cup.
And after collecting his award from Andrew Brewer from The Energy Check, an “embarrassed” Damien hailed the work throughout the youth teams and beyond.
“The remit has been to get players in the first team, but I feel slightly embarrassed to pick up this award because there are loads of people who work so hard before the young lads get to me,” he said up on stage.
“I’m a small part of this. The likes of Stu [Stuart Jones], Tony [Carss], Billy [Barr}, Shez [Mike Sheron], all the guys at the Academy, right down to the lower levels, they all work so hard.
“Any credit I get has to go to those guys as well.
“It’s hard, it’s tough, and I think it’s even tougher these days with the pressure that’s on them.
“The tendency is to not give young players opportunities, but we’re so grateful to have the manager that we have, who gives chances to the youngsters.
“In all my time here, I’ve never worked with a manager that watches as many youth team games and Under-23s games if he’s available.
“That makes my job so much easier because there’s no need to motivate the lads from my end.
“They know there is a pathway and an opportunity here, and at the moment the manager is giving them their chance."