Blues offer first professional deals to five

Blues offer first professional deals to five

The Club has made professional contract offers to five of its rising stars.

Defender Nico Gordon and winger Kyle Hurst have received terms of three years, plus a 12-month option.

Strikers Josh Andrews and Adan George have been offered two-year contracts, with a 12-month option.

And the other second year Academy scholar Tate Campbell has a one year offer, plus a 12-month option.

The Club are to release goalkeeper Josh Bradley-Hurst, defenders Nick Kinina, Lucas Powell and Kai Knight as well as striker Oumar Traore.

The decisions were taken just after the turn of the year.

Academy Manager Kristjaan Speakman commented: "We operate a comprehensive review process to ensure we get the right pathway for all the players.

"In communicating this to the players in February we are able to adjust their plans accordingly and provide clarity to them on what the future holds.

"In the same respect, for players not being retained, time is a vital commodity and we can maximise their time with us to investigate the many exit routes on offer."

Gordon, who turned 18 yesterday, has had an impressive campaign.

He made his Under-23s debut against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in August and gone on to be a mainstay of the Development Squad.

Adept at either right-back or centre-half, Gordon received a first team squad number in February and was 19th man for the FA Cup replay against Coventry City. He has also made Pep Clotet's senior matchdau squad on three other occasions.

Gordon captained the Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup and his unruffled, astute defending allied to speed and athleticism have seen him develop into a regular pick for Steve Spooner's Under-23s.

Hurst, 18, is an exciting dribbler who causes panic for defences with his ability to carry the ball and go past opponents at will.

He made his breakthrough last season with the Under-23s before notching up game time with Paul Robinson's Under-18s this season before being bumped up again to the Development Squad.

Hurst scored a stunning late goal against Barnsley to send nine-man Blues through to the Fifth Round of the FA Youth Cup against all the odds in January.

Andrews, 18, and George have often played in tandem as part of the frontline for the Under-23s and Under-18s in the FA Youth Cup this season.

At 6ft 3in, Andrews presence and physique can make him hard to handle for centre-halves yet he's not just an archetypal target man who links, being quick over the ground and finding threatening positions.

George, 17, possesses pace that makes him an instant danger, either going in behind or at defenders. He has very quick feet and is able to shift the ball in tight spots enabling him to attack off either foot.

With a striker's nose for goal, he has four from 16 competitive appearances (nine starts) this campaign for the Under-23s, and seven for the Under-18s, including a hat-trick in the 4-1 FA Youth Cup defeat of Sunderland in the Third Round.

Campbell, 17, is a versatile midfielder who has the size, power and passing to impose himself on games. He can play at centre-half as well but if more often used as a midfield pivot.