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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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17 July 2019 Venue Bower Fold Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

Stalybridge Celtic
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Burnley Football Club

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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Stalybridge Celtic v Burnley U23s

First domestic action for young Clarets as boss Steve Stone raises the stakes

17 July 2019

The Under-23s continue their pre-season build-up tonight (Wednesday) with a trip to Stalybridge Celtic (KO 7.45pm).

Steve Stone’s side completed their training camp in Poland with a 2-1 win over Pogon Szczecin last Saturday.

And the U23s' boss is looking to keep progressing against BetVictor Northern Premier League top-flight side Celtic in a pre-season schedule designed to present a more searching build-up to the Professional Development League season and beyond.

“That’s the next test and we’ve got some really tough tests this year in terms of pre-season games with the likes of Cheltenham coming up,” said Stone.

“We have really upped the level in terms of pre-season games from the other years and that’s what we are trying to do – better players and better tests to produce better players for the first team.”

Harker goal.jpg

Rob Harker scored the opening goal as the Clarets won in Poland

Stone is over-seeing his first pre-season with the Clarets, having replaced Cheltenham-bound Michael Duff to take charge of the U23s last November.

And the former England international is stamping his mark on the build-up as he strives to increase the flow of players towards the senior set-up.

“I tailor it to what I want,” Stone added. “Sport science will bring the science to it, which is right, to protect the players to warn me if they are doing too much – or if they’re not doing enough.

“That’s what they’re there for and Ouzo (Alex Ouzounoglou) is very good at it.

“But in terms of the pre-season, it’s what I want – the types of football we do, the running drills we do are mine really.

“And they have to be because I’ve got to put the team out there and I’ve got to answer to that, so it’s got to come from me.

Steve Stone instructions.jpg

“I’ve also been around the gaffer long enough, and Woany and Tony, to know what they want.

“And really my message is very similar to the gaffer’s message in terms of what we’re trying to do here.

“The message is they work hard and they have to be a Burnley-type player.

“And we will mix our play up a little bit. We’ll try and do exactly when the first team do and, for me, the message has to be that way.

“Continuity is to try and play like them and get players through like we have in the first team.”

The Clarets go to Stalybridge for the second summer running following a 3-0 win at Bower Fold last July.

Admission to the game is £6 and £3 concessions.

Under-23s’ pre-season fixtures:

Stalybridge Celtic (A) – Wed, 17 July (7.45pm)

Bamber Bridge (A) – Wed, 24 July (7.45pm)

Cheltenham Town (A) – Sat, 27 July (3pm)

Curzon Ashton (A) – Wed, 31 July (7.45pm)

Connah’s Quay Nomads (H) Sat, 3 Aug (11:30am)

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Match Reports

Stalybridge Celtic 3 Burnley U23s 1

Early goals prove costly as Clarets beaten at Bower Foldeltic side

17 July 2019

The Clarets conceded three first-half goals to lose their opening friendly on home soil.

Having won 2-1 against Pogon Szczecin’s youngsters in Poland on Saturday, Steve Stone’s side found this a tougher test against the BetVictor League Premier Division side.

And leaking two goals from corners inside the opening six minutes proved too great an obstacle to overcome against an older and physically stronger line-up.

Tunde Bayode reduced the arrears with a classy response with almost half an hour gone.

But another soft goal gifted to Celtic seven minutes before the break nipped a potential comeback in the bud as the Clarets were kept at arm’s length.

Stalybridge went ahead when winger Neil Kengni swivelled in the box to fire home after the Clarets couldn’t clear a corner in a disappointing start.

And the visitors were undone again just two minutes later when experienced striker Craig Hobson headed home.

The former Stockport County frontman proved a real handful for the Clarets’ central defensive pairing of Ollie Younger and ex-Celtic loanee Scott Wilson.

The pair gradually got to grips with the challenge as Burnley often tried to play their way out from the back - not always with great success.

But it was a superb piece of football that saw Stone’s side briefly get back in the contest.

A brilliant through-ball from a midfield trialist dissected the Celtic defence and found Bayode, whose quick feet saw the winger round goalkeeper Patrick Mahome and slot home.

Mahome had earlier saved a thumping volley from Chris Conn-Clarke and a second trialist should have levelled with a chance he clipped wide.

But just when it looked as though the Clarets might build up a head of steam they conceded a poor third goal.

Kengni’s low cross should have been dealt with by goalkeeper Kai Calderbank-Park but he was beaten at the near post, possibly via a touch from Hobson.

The Clarets recovered from that set-back to dominate possession after the break – switching to a 4-3-3 formation when the injured Bayode was replaced by Will Harris.

But despite the efforts of Rob Harker to lead from the front they failed to create any real opportunities to get back into contention.

It was Celtic who went closest a couple of times to adding to their score through a trialist and Craig Valentine before Younger headed wide from a late corner from the Clarets’ last opening of a disappointing night.

Stalybridge Celtic: Mahome; Walker, Darnold, Allen (Dalton HT), O’Halloran; Stafford (Bortles HT), Rosen, Dent Lees HT), Kengni (Ryan 67); Hobson (Carr 67), Valentine. Substitutes: Lees, Bortles, Dalton, Ryan, Carr.

Burnley: Calderbank-Park; Cropper, Younger, Wilson, Glennon; Bayode (Harris 62), Trialist, N’Guessan, Conn-Clarke; Trialist, Harker. Substitutes: Allen, Pruti, Cooney, Thomas, Steels, Senior.

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