09 Jul 2024

Five Burton Albion academy players earn professional contracts

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Burton Albion Football Club has announced that five academy scholars have signed professional contracts with the club.

Dylan Scott, Toby Oakes, Cameron Gilbert and Kamil Dudek are the latest crop of Brewers youngsters to progress from the club’s Academy to earn a one-year professional deal with the club, joining graduate Will Tamen who had previously signed professional terms back in September.

Academy manager, Keith Gilroy said: “This year we’ve put through more players than we have in a long time and we’re really proud of that.

“The Professional Development Phase (PDP) has had a very good year, finishing second in their retrospective league and they had an impressive run in the FA Youth Cup. 

“We feel that these five players suit the plans of the football club moving forward and we now look forward to focusing on bringing through the next batch of youngsters in the future.”

Having earnt his first professional contract at the start of last season, Will Tamen made his senior debut in the EFL Trophy against Everton under-21s last season before making his EFL debut away at Peterborough United. 

The defender spent the second half of last season developing on loan at Mickleover where he was at the heart of the defence that reached the play-offs. 

On the young defender’s development and progression, Gilroy said: “The loan was perfect for Will as it was essential for us to get him out on loan once his professional contract was secured. 

“His performances have been exceptional and what that’s given him is the confidence to perform in a physical environment and also the experience of already being exposed to men’s football at his age.”

Striker Dylan Scott made five first team appearances last season for the Brewers scoring his first senior goal in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy against Blackpool.

In his two years as a scholar, Scott netted over 50 goals and combined with his work rate, has more than deserved his professional deal.

Keith Gilroy said: “What Dylan has proved over these last two years is that he has a knack of scoring goals.

“Obviously the step up from academy football to a league one first team is huge and we don’t expect his to flourish straight away, but to have someone in the building with his goalscoring qualities is very rare these days.”

After showing his high qualities in his first year as a scholar, Toby Oakes was unfortunately sidelined for a large portion of last season with a serious knee injury. 

Oakes is a versatile player with the ability to play across the back four as well as in central midfield, and the quality he showed in his first year was enough to show the academy coaches that he deserved a pro contract.

Gilroy said: “In his first year, Toby showed that he had a lot of potential and a very high ceiling and once he gets fit, we hope that he can get back to where he once was as he was developing into a very good player.

“He is technically a very good player; he can handle the ball in tight positions, and he can play anywhere across the back three or four as well as in midfield.

“For us as an academy, it’s important to produce players that can support the first team in various positions and that versatility is something that is so important in first team football.”

Defender Cameron Gilbert came to Brewers following his release from Wolverhampton Wanderers and has been a standout performer since he joined the academy with notable outstanding performances in the FA Youth Cup in front of the Pirelli crowd.

Cameron Gilbert has been one of the most consistent high performers in the academy throughout his scholarship and will be looking to take his defensive skillset into the first team setting.

Gilroy continued: “Cam is a very consistent defender; we took him in after he was released at Wolves and what we saw in him straight away is how well he reads the game defensively.

“Last year in particular, when the academy would play against the first team in training, we were extremely impressed with his one-on-one defending against professional wingers, which told us a lot about his ability.”

The young goalkeeper Kamil Dudek had an extremely strong second year of his scholarship, developing as a great shot-stopper and ball-playing keeper.

Dudek was regularly out on the training pitch with the first team last season, joining the GK union at the Brewers, learning off first team keeper, Max Crocombe who won Player of the Season last campaign.

Gilroy said: “We find that with goalkeepers, they usually need a bit longer to develop, but we know that he has the attributes both physically and mentally to take him far.

“He has great character, he’s comfortable with the ball at his feet, he’s always brave when trying to play out from the back and with the work from our goalkeeping coaches, he’s become much more commanding in his area.

“He’ll fit into the first team environment well, hopefully there will be a good, strategized plan to develop him further and fit into the first team in a way that suits the manager.”

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