Jamie Vardy V9 Academy graduates Josh Heaton, Cody Cooke join St Mirren

Josh Heaton and Cody Cooke, graduates from Jamie Vardy’s V9 Academy, have signed for Scottish Premiership side St Mirren.

The pair are new manager Alan Stubbs’ first signings at the club.

Defender Heaton joins from Darlington and striker Cooke has made the move from Truro.

Stubbs saw the duo close up while working with Vardy’s academy in Manchester.

V9 was set up by Vardy to give non-league players a training platform and profile, to try to get them deals in the football league.

Centre-back Heaton, 21, has agreed a three-year deal after St Mirren paid £75,000 – the largest fee they have paid for a player in 25 years. He also had interest from Middlesbrough and Everton.

“You only have to look at the clubs who were wanting to get Josh and to have got him it’s quite a coup.”

Cooke, 25, has joined on a two-year contract.

“I’m over the moon,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity and football is all about opportunities – I want to grab this one with both hands.”