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Pro Deal For Thomas As Scholars Released

Bobby Thomas gets two-year deal as Will Harris and Kai Calderbank-Park stay on

6 March 2019

Teenage defender Bobby Thomas has been awarded his first professional contract following a break-through season at Turf Moor.

The 18-year-old centre-back, who has been a regular starter for the Under-23s since the turn of the year, will sign a two-year deal.

The former Everton schoolboy (above) joined the Clarets after leaving Crewe in the summer of 2017 and earns an extended stay following a two-year scholarship.

“Bobby has been a feature for the Under-23s and the fact that he has made that step quite smoothly has been integral to that decision and we look forward to seeing him develop further,” said Academy Manager Jon Pepper.

Striker Will Harris, 18, (above) has also been offered a new contract, via a third-year scholarship.

And goalkeeper Kai Calderbank-Park, 18, (below) is also staying on for a third year after an injury-hit spell during his initial scholarship period.

“Will has shown a lot of resilience,” added Pepper.

“He didn’t play a lot in his first year and might have thought he wasn’t going to feature, but he has really kicked on and this is another year to see if he continues the progress he has made in the last four months or so.

“Kai has been injured but has been out at Padiham, playing with men, and another year will see him develop and see if he can get a bit closer to earning a place in the under-23s and a first professional contract.”

However, the rest of the second years are all being released at the end of the season as the Clarets look to progress the younger age groups and welcome a new intake.

Youth-teamers Michael Fowler, Oscar Woods, Kian Yari, Ethan Kershaw, Richard Taylor, Dan Moss, Terry Mupariwa and Dylon Meredith will, therefore, all move on in the summer to hopefully pursue careers elsewhere.

“Decisions with this group have been very difficult, but as the Academy progresses and the club continues to sustain Premier League status, the benchmark of the type of player we try to produce is raised each year,” said Pepper.

Academy Manager Jon Pepper

“The way they have applied themselves, I’m sure a number of them will get a career, at some level, within the game and a number of clubs are aware, when they do get released, they will have certain assets they will be looking for.

“The attitude and application of the whole group has been outstanding.

“They can hold their heads up high, be proud of what they have done over the two years and leave the building over the summer with no regrets, because each individual has put everything into the programme – football-wise and academically.

“Hopefully it’s been a good step in the right direction for their football careers or careers outside the game and their two-year scholarship has been a positive aspect in their lives.”

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