FOUR second-year scholars have been offered professional contracts by Swindon Town, following the conclusion of their Merit League campaign at Oxford on Saturday.

Luke Haines, Jacob Bancroft, Archie Matthews and Ralph Graham have all successfully graduated from the club’s academy, and will next year train full-time under the watchful eye of manager Richie Wellens and assistant Noel Hunt.

Bancroft has already made one appearance for Town’s first-team, after he came off the bench in March to replace Theo Robinson as Colchester were comprehensively beaten 3-0 at the County Ground.

Archie Matthews has also been named on the team sheet this year. The teenager benefitted from Lawrence Vigouroux’s first-team absence after he dropped out of the matchday squad following a fall-out with Town boss Wellens.

Ralph Graham and Luke Haines are yet to feature for the first-team, but have impressed throughout the year for Town’s under 18s.

Haines was a regular scorer for David Farrell’s youngsters during the Academy’s Merit League campaign, which ended in Town finishing third to Southend and Wimbledon after registering 20 points from 10 fixtures.

Graham also impressed, and possessed clear playing-making ability from the central midfield areas. The quartet are now part of the 16 players under contract next season at the club.

Academy manager Alan McLoughlin said: "It’s an exciting day for them.

"Everyone wants to be known and achieve that professional status and that’s what they’ve done. It’s been a journey for them – they’ve travelled all the way through the academy system which is great from our perspective.

“Luke (Haines) has been here since he was six - travelling through the whole way, on a very difficult journey and the other boys coming in later.

“It’s good for us, as an academy, that we focus on our academy players – we want to try and develop our own players and not be reliant on other academy players coming down.

“Now they have to show their potential and show the manager and the first-team coaching staff that they’re capable of stepping into another year.”