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This time last year, the under-23s were preparing for the new season with coach Michael Duff, but just a few weeks into the season Duff was on his way to Cheltenham Town as manager.

michael duff 300x400Steve Stone ultimately replaced Duff at Burnley and tomorrow the pair go head to head at Whaddon Road as our  under-23s take on Duff’s first team in a pre-season friendly that was arranged after Cheltenham called off their game against Bristol Rovers with them having drawn each other in the League Cup.

It’s not the first time we’ve played there in pre-season. The first occasion was back in 2005 and was part of the deal that brought Duff to Burnley. He and his brother Shane captained the two teams that afternoon in a game that ended in a 0-0 draw, and seven years ago we returned, this time winning 4-0. Charlie Austin scored twice that day with Joseph Mills and Ross Wallace also on the scoresheet.

Tomorrow, however, it will be our under-23s against a League Two side which will potentially make it a difficult afternoon. Current coach Stone said: “Duffo was a really big part of the club here. He did an excellent job with the under-23s and obviously worked with a lot of these players.

“He has started really well at Cheltenham, so we know what a test it will be, but I’m looking for our lads to go and have a real experience of what league football is. That’s why we’ve done it. The games we’ve been playing have been a step up from last year and this is definitely a step up. It’s a huge step up.

“We might not see a lot of the ball and let’s see what we have to do with the defending side of the game and on the counter attack. It is something we might have to do at times, and you have to learn. You have to be resilient and I sense it will be that type of game, but it’s a challenge we’ll relish.”

Stone is hoping to be able to call on Jimmy Dunne, Ali Koiki and Josh Benson for the game which kicks off at 3 p.m. For any Burnley fans in the area wishing to attend, admission is pay on the day at £12 adults, £6 concessions.

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