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It really is a day of good  and bad news for some of our young professionals at Turf Moor with three of them offered new deals but three more set to leave the club having not been offered extensions.

Central defender Alex Whitmore and midfielder Christian Hill, both having previously come through the youth team, have been offered terms for the 2016/17 season along with full back Arlen Birch who joined us from Everton earlier this season.

Alex Whitmore - Christian Hill - Arlen Birch
Alex Whitmore – Christian Hill – Arlen Birch

Development squad coach Michael Jolley said: “We have offered new deals to the three players as we still see growth in them and there is more to come from them. We can see a pathway for them all at the moment to continue to develop and grow here at Burnley, whether that’s in our development squad or on loan elsewhere. and we think these three still have potential in areas where we think they can make an impact.”

However, it is disappointing news for two Australians, goalkeeper Danijel Nizic and midfielder Brandon Wilson. Both will be leaving as will Jason Gilchrist, a striker who has been with the club for the last five years.

No decision, as yet, has been made on the future of George Green who joined us part way through the season.

I’m delighted for the three who have been given terms. I’ve seen very little of Birch due to most development squad games being played behind closed doors but I’ve seen both Whitmore and Hill playing regularly previously at youth team level.

Of the three leaving, the one I am most disappointing to see is Jason Gilchrist. I knew last week that he was going to be one of the players leaving and I couldn’t help but cast my mind back to Old Trafford in December 2012 when Gilchrist scored a hat trick in a 4-3 FA Youth Cup win, the only occasion I’ve ever seen a Burnley team beat Manchester United on their home ground.

I wish Gilly as well as Nizic and Wilson the very best and hope they will all get themselves new clubs to continue their career. Gilchrist has already landed himself an opportunity with a League One club as yet unnamed.

Jason Gilchrist, Brandon Wilson, Danijel Nizic
Jason Gilchrist – Brandon Wilson – Danijel Nizic

Of those leaving, Jolley said: “In all three cases, we have done this naturally for our benefit, but more so for the player’s benefit. All three need to go and kick on with their footballing careers elsewhere and we wish them all the very best of luck with that.

“Jason has been in our system for quite a while now and he has done fantastically well to come back from his serious injury, and I’m happy to say he is back to full fitness and he is playing football again. We just felt that because of the quality of the strikers ahead of Jason at the football club, it was always going to be difficult for him to break through here, so it was in his best interest to let him go and establish himself elsewhere.

“Brandon has been a third year scholar this year and he has played numerous games for the development squad. Again, with the quality of central midfielders in the first team and in the development squad, it would have been really difficult for Brandon to have broken through.”

And on Nizic, he said: “The goalkeeping department has a very strong influence on the decisions of our goalkeepers and Dan had a loan at Crewe at the beginning of the season before returning to us.

“In making these decisions on all our young players, we need to see a way forward for them to ultimately get into our first team, and given what’s ahead of him in the goalkeeping department we didn’t feel it was fair on Dan to keep him in our system because of the strong group of goalkeepers already at the club.”

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