Charlton Athletic youth coach Steve Avory has confirmed that goalkeeper Joe Watkins has signed professional terms with Nottingham Forest.

The academy manager made the announcement on the club’s official website. Watkins has penned his first pro deal with the Reds and will join Andy Reid’s under-23 ranks.

Forest now have category one academy status. That means they will enter prestigious under-23 competitions next year and play in the Premier League 2 domestically.

Nottingham Forest v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo; Mick Walker; CameraSport; Getty Images)

As a result, they’ve been forced into some recruitment for their under-23 ranks. Watkins follows Lewis Salmon and Billy Fewster in joining Reid’s squad.

Avory has been discussing the deal with Charlton’s official website. It seems as though he’s buzzing for the player he has spent the last few years nurturing.

He said: It’s the worst part of the job – no doubt about that. There were four scholars that I had to inform that they were not going to be offered a pro contract.

“I’m delighted that two of those have got contract elsewhere – Harry Beadle at Colchester and Joe Watkins at Nottingham Forest.”

It will be interesting now to see how Watkins develops at the City Ground and what role he takes on at the club.

George Shelvey has gone on loan to Mansfield Town and under-23 stopper Jordan Wright has penned a contract extension at the City Ground.

In the first-team, Brice Samba is the first choice goalkeeper, with Jordan Smith competing with him for the gloves.

Forest academy ranks taking shape after Watkins signing

The club now looks well-stocked when it comes to youth team goalkeepers. Nicky Hogarth has joined from Rangers and Watkins now looks set to rival him for the gloves.

Nottingham Forest v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship
(Photo; Mick Walker; CameraSport; Getty Images)

The door is open for these young custodians to stake their claim for a place. The jury is perhaps out on Smith and some competition for Samba would perhaps be welcomed.

Injuries and suspensions could see the door swing open for these young lads and as a result, Watkins will want to impress.

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