BARROW AFC CEO Levi Gill is excited by the club's plans to open a Category 4 EFL Academy.

Subject to EFL approval, The Bluebirds will be applying for the licence in due course and Gill believes it represents a 'natural progression'.

He said: "Establishing a Category 4 EFL Academy is a natural progression for Barrow. Throughout this journey we’ve always said that the community and the town have to be involved at all levels of this football club, and now young local players once again have a pathway into the first team.

"The work that Craig Rutherford and in particular Liam Reid have done with the Performance Centre in recent years has been outstanding and the club owes them a debt of gratitude. Without their efforts and expertise, there wouldn’t be a platform to build on. Moving forward we want to keep both of them at the centre of our plans so they can continue to shape and influence the academy as it becomes established."

The new academy would allow Barrow to sign players aged 16-18 on scholarship terms.

It will see the current Under-21 structure be replaced, with new roles created to aid young players' development.

Another major change will see a number of current Performance Centre sides register into the Junior Premier League.

With the centre opening over 10 years ago, Barrow's Liam Reid believes a Category 4 Academy will reflect the club's lofty ambitions.

The head of youth said: "For the last few months, Craig Rutherford and I have met with Paul Hornby, Tony Shearer and Levi Gill, discussing and presenting a vision that reflects where this club aims to be. We have discussed our plans with the Premier League and EFL who are complimentary of what we currently have.

“However, it is crucial that we launch our own academy. It’s the right thing for the Football Club in the environment we now find ourselves in and can only be positive for local football. It fulfils the vision we have and is a huge part of where we want to be.

"We’ve always said that there is a talent in our town; everybody will agree on that. This ensures we can harness that talent in a professional environment."