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1617 burnley youth team picA draw and three wins in pre-season will count for nothing tomorrow morning when the youth team kick off their 2016/17 Youth Alliance League season with an away game against Fleetwood Town.

With absolutely no disrespect to the teams we face, the hope is this might be our last season in this league and will be if the club are successful in achieving EPPP Category 2 status which, of course, is fully dependent on us having the new Gawthorpe facilities available as well as a number of other areas that need to stepped up.

The academy is currently without a head, with suggestions there could be an appointment next month, but Michael Duff’s team haven’t let that bother them and have scored no fewer than 12 goals in the last three games after the 0-0 draw against Rotherham. Second year scholar Nashé Chakwana has scored four of them but leading the way is RJ Pingling, the player Up the Clarets exclusively revealed we’d signed two weeks ago, with five goals.

Pingling is the same age as the second year scholars and is in a squad of 19 players from whom the team is likely to be selected, although goalkeeper Adam Bruce will not feature as he recovers from a long term injury.

This season’s squad is:

Second Years: Olatunde Bayode, Nashé Chakwana, Miles Fenton, Billy Grogan, Mark Howarth, Connor King, RJ Pingling, Tyler Shrimpton, Tommy Wood.

First Years: Adam Bruce, James Clarke, Leighton Egan, Tristan Jumeau, Samuel Layton, Dwight McNeil, Kwasinkosi Mpofu, Scott Wilson, Marcel Wusiewicz, Oliver Younger.

Up the Clarets would like to wish the youth team every success this season and that, without question, extends to new coach Michael Duff who is taking his first steps on the coaching ladder after making his farewell appearance for the club at Charlton in May.

As always, Andy Ashworth and myself, will endeavour to bring you as many reports from the youth team games this season as is possible, although they are likely to be restricted to the home games.

The full fixture list in the Youth Alliance League tomorrow is:

Fleetwood v Burnley
Morecambe v Bury
Preston v Carlisle
Tranmere v Port Vale
Wigan v Walsall
Wrexham v Rochdale

Accrington, Blackpool and Shrewsbury are without a game.

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