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Burnley landed themselves in a tough group when the draw was made for the Premier League Cup pairing us with Colchester United and two category one clubs in Newcastle United and Swansea City.

This afternoon we play the first of our games in this season’s competition and it is probably the toughest of all of them at Newcastle United who are currently seventh in Premier League 2, Division 2.

michael duff 300x400Our opponents kicked off the season in style, scoring four goals in each of the first two games, beating Stoke 4-3 and then winning 4-0 against West Brom, both of those home games. It’s not been plain sailing since, however, with no wins in the last four. They lost at Middlesbrough, drew at home against Norwich and at Brighton, and on Monday of this week were beaten 1–0 at home by Wolves.

That game was played at St. James’ Park, but today’s is at the Northumberland FA in Newcastle and our under-23 coach Michael Duff is fully aware of how strong our opponents are. Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, he said: “We’re under no illusions, it’s going to be a tough game.

“They’re a Cat 1, so they’ll be strong. The U23s went there last year and had a tough time against them (we lost 7-0). We’re going to be up against it but it’s a good challenge for us and we just want to see things we’ve been working on really.”

Duff explained that our team have already come up against different looking teams this season. “You never really know what sort of team you’re going to play at this level,” he said. “We’ve played an under-18 team, a team full of internationals and on Monday we played an under-23 team.”

“It’s different as you don’t know what you’re coming up against, but we can’t worry too much, we know they’ll be good technically, they will want to play an expansive brand of football, so we need to go there and be hard to beat.”

There is no early team news but Burnley are expected to field a similar line up to the one that played at Hull four days ago while Peter Beardsley, who is in charge of the Newcastle under-23 team, is expected to once again include Jack Colback, Massadio Haidara and Henri Saivet in his side, three players who have been told can leave the club, while Dwight Gayle also featured on Monday.

Kick off this afternoon at Northumberland FA is 1 p.m. I’m not aware of it being behind closed doors and for any Burnley fans in the area who may wish to attend, the address is Whitley Park, Whitley Road, Benton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE12 9FA.

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