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Ladies launch bespoke player pathway

Rovers introduce new development strategy for players aiming to break into the first team

3 June 2020

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Blackburn Rovers are set to launch an innovative new development scheme for talented female footballers.

It is hoped that the bespoke player pathway programme will enhance both the quantity and quality of players challenging to break into the Ladies first team going forward.

The decision has been taken to address the growing gulf in standards between the club’s development squad and the first team, following Rovers’ promotion to the FA Women’s Championship last summer.

As a result, Rovers will not be entering a team into the FAWNL Reserve North Division 1 for the forthcoming 2020-21 campaign.

Rovers have dominated the division over recent years, lifting the league title in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and when the current campaign was ended due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the development squad were second in the table, with three games in hand on the leaders.

Rovers’ new approach will see the most promising Reserve team players retained by the club, for training and personal development purposes, whilst also providing them with the opportunity to experience first team football out on loan.

“Whilst we have enjoyed many seasons of success in the FAWNL (Reserves), this has also likely been of detriment to the players’ development,” said Ladies manager Gemma Donnelly.

“With the first team now competing in the FA Women’ Championship, the gulf in standards between the development team and first team has widened and it is apparent we need to adopt a new strategy.

“For the forthcoming season, we will be delivering a bespoke development player pathway, whereby some existing players and some new talent will be recruited to train alongside the first team and be offered loan agreements to play competitive football at alternative clubs, in a league we feel will be more suitable and more beneficial.

“We will monitor each player and measure their outcomes against our own key performance indicators, as well as working closely with them in our first team training environment.

“This is something new and exciting that we wish to try and will replace the rigid old style of the development team.”

For players that are interested in joining the new development scheme, please contact Gemma Donnelly at for more information.

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