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It was Thursday, 25th June, we were preparing for our early evening game against Watford, the first to be played at home following the restart, and the club issued a list of players from both the under-23 and under-18 teams who were either being offered new deals or leaving the club.

It was a case of quickly listing the players on Up the Clarets but now, just as I wrote yesterday about the departure of the first team players, it is right that we congratulate those who will be staying with us and wish the very best to those players who have, by now, moved on.

Looking at the under-18s first, we had thirteen second year scholars and the first congratulations go to the six of them who have been given a third year scholarship. The six are goalkeepers Harry Allen and Lewis Thomas, left back Matty Rain, wide players Ne’Jai Tucker and Cricky Conn-Clarke along with striker Max Thompson who arrived from Everton during the season and three days before the club released this information had made his first team debut.

Because of the curtailment of the season, we’ve offered twelve week extensions to five more players to give them the opportunity to try and win a third year. They are right back Kane Patterson, central defender Edon Pruti, midfielder Joe Conley, wide player Rhys Fenlon and striker Mitch George. Unfortunately two players have now left the club, they being central defender Udoka Chima and forward Jayden Major.

Moving on to the under-23s and three players have now had their deals at Burnley extended. They are right back Ryan Cooney, central defender Jimmy Dunne and midfielder Josh Benson. Cooney arrived from Bury last summer while Dunne has been with us for four years having moved from Manchester United; he has already clocked up 74 appearances out on loan with Barrow, Accrington, Hearts, Sunderland and most recently Fleetwood. Benson did really well at Grimsby in the second half of the season just ended in his first ever loan and has more recently been on the bench alongside Dunne for our first team.

Four other players are out of contract but have been offered new deals, namely Ali Koiki, Adam Phillips, Aiden O’Neill and Rob Harker but six others have been released. The six who have left the club are Australian goalkeeper Kai Calderbank-Park, right back Joel Senior who was here for one year having signed from Curzon Ashton, midfielder Christian N’Guessan, wide players Tunde Bayode and Henri Ogunby and striker Will Harris who had a successful trial at Sunderland who will be hoping to sign him.

Although there was no mention of them by the club, two other players have left. Goalkeeper George McMahon, who was signed from Rotherham two years ago, has also been released while Vinnie Steels, signed from York, departed in January.

That just leaves two central defenders Oliver Younger and Scott Wilson. The club reported that contract offers may follow for the pair although they are now free to pursue options at other clubs.

Up the Clarets would like to send belated congratulations to those players who have won extensions or new deals with the club. More so we ‘d like to send our best wishes to all of the young players who are now leaving us and wish them the very best in their careers.

For those staying it will be a new experience playing for us against Category 1 teams in the academy EPPP system when, hopefully one day, those of us from Up the Clarets will be able to go to Gawthorpe and Curzon Ashton to watch the games.

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