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gawthorpe 2The Youth Alliance League kicked off last weekend with Preston North End, Shrewsbury Town and Tranmere Rovers all winning their games 2-1 and two other fixtures ending in 1-1 draws.

Over the last few years I’ve updated on the league during the season. Burnley had good years, notably such as 2008/09, 2011/12 and last season in particular, and we also had the horrible 2015/16 season when only Morecambe finished below us. But it all changes this season for Burnley and Up the Clarets reporting of the youth team.

Instead, the weekly coverage of the youths will centre around the Professional Development League for Category 2 clubs as the Clarets move up a level to join a league whose other 20 clubs come from the Premier League (3), Championship (13), League One (1) and League Two (3).

1718 burnley adam bruce 00 500x500The league is split into two regional sections with 11 teams in the North section and 10 in the South section. We will play a total of 30 games, playing all of the other North teams home and away while playing each of the South teams either at home or away.

And we have a new coach this season. Michael Duff has moved up to the under-23 development squad, where he will work with Andy Farrell, and the club have recruited Danny Cadamarteri, who was at Sheffield Wednesday, as the new youth team coach and he will be assisted by John Townson.

They have had a very good pre-season, playing in the Generali CEE Cup in Prague and reaching the final before losing out to a strong Everton team and now it is almost time for Burnley to kick off in the new league for the first time. We get underway this Saturday with a home game against one of the Premier League clubs as we face Watford at Gawthorpe with the usual 11 a.m. kick off.

Ahead of tomorrow’s game, Cadamarteri said: “I can’t wait to get started now. It’s an important step forward for the club and I’m looking forward to seeing how we do. We’ve worked hard in pre-season and it will be good to play some competitive football now.”

Goalkeeper Adam Bruce (pictured), voted the best goalkeeper in the competition in Prague, is also looking forward to it as he looks to establish himself having missed virtually the whole of last season with injury. He said: “It’s a new league so no-one really knows what to expect, but if we play like we did out in Prague, we should be in for a good year.”

Cadamarteri has named a squad of 17 for the game which does not include regular central defenders Oliver Younger and Scott Wilson or wide player Dwight McNeil who are all expected to be involved with the under-23s at Crystal Palace in three days time. Tomorrow’s squad is: Adam Bruce, Dan Moss, Kwasinkosi Mpofu, Ethan Kershaw, James Clarke, Bobby Thomas, Tristan Jumeau, Terry Mupariwa, Michael Fowler, Kian Yari, Akim Samms, Dylon Meredith, Jordan Cropper, Will Harris, Richard Taylor, Leighton Egan, Marcel Wusiewicz.

All our Fixtures can be found within U23/U18 Stats on the top menu and the League Tables will be updated as results come in via the same section of the site.

THIS WEEK’S FIXTURES

Saturday 12th August
Bolton v QPR
Burnley v Watford
Hull v Cardiff
Leeds v Charlton
Sheffield Wednesday v Crystal Palace
Birmingham v Millwall

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