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The under-23s are in action this afternoon with Sunderland the visitors to Leyland for what is our first ever home game in Premier League 2.

Last night, apart from Jimmy Dunne, a number of the under-23 players were in the first team squad. It wouldn’t normally rule them out of today’s game but with the League Cup game against Millwall in two days time it could be that they won’t be available for today’s game.

One player who is likely to play is Ashley Barnes. It’s a long time since we last saw him, New Year’s Day to be exact when he was withdrawn at half time. Surgery followed and it has definitely taken longer than anyone expected for him to get fit. But Sean Dyche confirmed last week that he would play in the under-23s this week and I would expect him to play at least half of the game and then play a longer period in four days time against Newcastle.

Today’s opponents Sunderland had a difficult time last season but have made a lot of changes to their squad for this season which now includes three of our former players. Vinnie Steels, who all but disappeared before having his contract terminated at the beginning of this year, was the first to sign for them. The wide man was then joined by striker Will Harris and just last week Oliver Younger made the numbers three, the central defender signing having been at Burnley for several years coming through the centre of excellence and the academy.

We wish all three of them the very best at Sunderland but not today as we look to get our first points on the board in this league.

Kick off at Leyland is 2 p.m. but because of restrictions due to COVID-19 this game is strictly behind closed doors.

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