First team opportunities for Pike and McBride fully deserved


With U23s duo Dan Pike and Connor McBride expected to be involved in the first team’s match with Watford, it is another reminder of the talent in the current academy set-up.

Both Pike and McBride have impressed for the U23s this season, with Billy Barr’s young Rovers sat second in the Premier League 2 Table, proving more than a match for the best talent at the level.

19-year-old Dan Pike has been with the club since the age of eight, and after being a key figure in the U18s’ FA Youth Cup run last season, he has progressed to the next age level with ease and looks to already be a first-team regular for the U23s.

His attacking presence from right-back is a key component to Pike’s game, providing two assists so far this campaign, but his runs forward do not come at the sacrifice of defensive performance.

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The well-balanced game of Pike makes him a promising talent for years to come, and the regular experiences around the first-team setup should only benefit him as he hopefully makes the permanent step up in the future.

Connor McBride arrived at Rovers in the summer after his release from Celtic, and with both Dan Butterworth and Jack Vale absent, the Scottish forward grasped his chance with both hands.

He scored on his debut for the U23s, and has tallied up ten goals so far this season, a figure only beaten by Liam Delap of Manchester City.

But, McBride’s game involves more than goals. He provides a high work rate that sees him put pressure on the opposition back line, helping his side win the ball back after loss of possession.

The duo’s involvement with the first-team should come as no surprise. Both players have impressed at PL2 level this season and deserve a chance to be with the senior team.

The U23s side is full of talent, and we should expect to see a couple more of Pike and McBride’s teammates involved in the coming weeks and months.

Follow our account dedicated to Rovers’ U23 and U18 sides. All the latest updates, news and match content will be posted there before anywhere else so make sure you’re following: @academy_rovers.

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