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Burnley ended a first ever season in the Professional Development League in better shape than when it started. Having won just three of the first 18 games, we picked up maximum points in seven of the last twelve which kept us one point above Barnsley and off the bottom.

It was a much changed team towards the end of the season as we used a number of trialists, some who came and went, but some of those who helped bring about an improvement have now signed professional terms with the club for next season.

We’ve added three defenders, two midfielders and one forward to the squad with all six played for us last season in either the under-18 or under-23 team and all but the forward I’ve seen in those matches towards the end of the season.

Left to right: Ed Cook, Teddy Perkins & Anthony Glennon

Left to right: Ed Cook, Teddy Perkins & Anthony Glennon

Starting with the defenders and firstly Ed Cook who featured for both of those teams last season and scored the winner for the under-23s against Crewe in April. He was the difficult one to trace when he came on trial given he was coming straight from Bradfield College in Berkshire but we confirmed his signing in the week after he’d scored that winning goal.

Alongside him, boosting the centre of defence, is Teddy Perkins from Leyton Orient. He arrived at Turf Moor having learned that his club would not be able to retain him. He had captained their youth team and also made the first team squad. He impressed in a number of under-23 games towards the end of last season.

Left-back Anthony Glennon, from Bootle, has probably been at Burnley the longest of these new recruits. Like Cook, he’s played for both the under-18s and under-23s and has been with the club for a few months. His signing ends a long association with Liverpool; he’s been with them since he was aged six.

The two new midfielders have come from Arsenal and Newcastle and both played a number of under-23 games towards the end of last season. Josh Benson, who was with Arsenal, certainly impressed me in a couple of games. He’s very creative and looked like a player who had come through the system at the Emirates.

Mace Goodridge has just ended two years with Newcastle having previously been at Manchester City. He too turned in some very good performances towards the end of the 2017/18 season.

Finally, Rob Harker from Bury. The young striker is the one player I’m still to see play. He’s made substitute appearances for Bury in the Football League Trophy, against Bradford City in 2016/17 season and in their 3-1 win against Stoke U21s last season.

Left to right: Josh Benson, Mace Goodridge & Rob Harker

Left to right: Josh Benson, Mace Goodridge & Rob Harker

He came in late last season but made an impact. He scored the first goal in our 2-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in the final league game of the season and then netted twice in the end of season friendly against Rangers at Ibrox.

All six of them are aged 18 and Michael Duff said today: “We are delighted to have all of them on board and ready to start pre-season with us. They all made an impact last season with the different playing opportunities they had and in their time training with us so far, and I feel they will definitely strengthen the squad this time around.

“We are trying to increase the quality across the board with our young players, through recruitment, coaching and the experience of playing competitive football, and adding these players will do that.

“They have all had a good grounding, they are still young for an under-23 group and we feel there is plenty of scope for development and growth with us to hopefully make a mark at Turf Moor.”

The six players have now been added to the Squad List.

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