Billy Barr believes that Jack Vale is destined for the Rovers first team after the Welsh starlet penned a long-term contract to remain at Ewood Park.
Vale is a graduate of the Rovers Academy and worked under Barr at Under-18s level, shining in the 2017-18 FA Youth Cup campaign, which included a hat-trick against Nottingham Forest at Ewood Park.
The talented teenager earned a taste of Under-23s football last term, before becoming a regular this season under Barr, who was recently promoted to Under-23s head coach.
Barr has played a pivotal role in Vale's development since he joined the club and he is thrilled that the 18-year-old will continue to progress under his guidance.
“It’s very good news, as we all think a lot of Jack," said Barr, shortly after Vale put pen-to-paper on a new deal until June 2023.
"He’s been with us since the age of 14 and is developing into something that we think will help the first team further down the line.
“There’s still loads to work on, but the stuff that we knew was good about him is getting better and better.
“The challenge for Jack is to produce as often as he can. He joined at 14 and was training with the scholars when he first came and didn’t look out of place.
“Now, four or five years on, we’re hoping that the next six to 12 months really makes the difference in Jack and I hope that he gets an opportunity to train with the first team, as it will really help his development.
“I’ve always been a supporter of Jack. The stuff he does with the ball excites everybody and he’s physically maturing and getting stronger.
“Some of what he does is a joy to watch. In fact, you forget what he can’t do because he’s so good at what he can do that others can’t.
“It would be great for him to get into our first team setup, but we know the gaffer has plenty of options in the attacking areas.
“But you never know, injuries and suspensions may provide Jack with his the opportunity.
“For both him and us, it’s really good news.”