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Burnley will play Rotherham United tomorrow morning in what will be the first of four pre-season games for our youth team prior to the Youth Alliance League kicking off on Saturday 6th August.

The scholars have been back in training for two weeks now, getting under way under new coach Michael Duff a week last Monday. They’ve had a varied training programme and, like the first team, it has included a non-football team building day.

That was this week when they travelled to Cassius Camps in Cumbria (and thanks to them for allowing us use of their photographs from the day). The lads, it seems, enjoyed their day. Central defender Oliver Younger said: “Was a great experience and certainly pushed me through my limits and beyond,” whilst goalkeeper Connor King said: “Hardest thing I’ve done and a top day.” Defender James Clarke added: “Love it all and should put us in good stead for the new season.”

1617 burnley youth team raftThat new season starts with a trip to Fleetwood in what we all hope will be a last season in the Youth Alliance League with the club pushing for Category 2 status within EPPP, this after failing the Cat 3 audit back in the 2013/14 season.

The youth department is changing and the first change is Duffo coaching the under-18 team after hanging up his boots. Last season was a shock with no Terry Pashley there. He’s moved into recruitment after well over 20 years coaching at youth level, and with his able assistant Andy Farrell moving to work with Michael Jolley at under-21 level, it looked a rudderless ship at times.

This season will surely be an improvement on last season. I know it is not about winning leagues but it was absolutely ridiculous to hear a senior member of the department suggest it didn’t matter if we lost every game. The players seemed to take him at his word and went on to lose the last nine games of the season.

It’s a fresh start, there are new players and a new coach and we can now start the rebuilding and hopefully at least see a better season this time round.

Kick off tomorrow at Gawthorpe is 11 a.m. If you are thinking of going, take your waterproofs, the forecast isn’t good.

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