The Youth Team kick off the new North West Youth Alliance season this week buoyed by a two-week get-together in Austria.
Jason Blake led the 18-man squad and backroom staff on the sponsored 13-day tour, which was carefully designed to help nurture the youngsters physically, mentally, technically and educationally.
And the Academy Manager was delighted at the preparation ahead of the new campaign.
Blake said: “The trip was a real beneficial few weeks. First and foremost from the development and the physical conditioning point of view for the players, and after going six weeks into pre-season, we went without any injuries and a huge component of pre-season is injury prevention.
Hill running was a key component of the trip
“The lads worked really hard and they are certainly going into the first phase of the season ready to perform at peak levels, which was one of the main objectives of pre-season planning.”
The tour was also a great chance for the new intake to merge with the second year scholars, creating good morale for the season.
Blake added: “It was good for the first-year scholars to come in and integrate with the second years and certainly with a staff point of view we have got to know the boys a little better.
“Some of the lads who we were expecting to be a little quiet and withdrawn showed that they aren’t and their personalities came out in the trip, so that has been really valuable.
“It wasn’t just the first years we were surprised with. Some of the second years showed real leadership qualities, not only helping with the first years but how they interacted with the staff and in and around the whole group.”
The spectacular Obertraun venue, located in a valley in the middle of the stunning Austrian mountains, was a perfect location to tick all of the coaches requirements.
Blake continued: “From an Academy point of view it was the first time we had visited the venue, but I know that (former manager) Steve Cotterill brought the first-team here for a couple of seasons.
“We found the venue fantastic. First of all, from a football and physical component, the facilities include grass pitches, AstroTurf pitches, running tracks, the indoor halls, the gym and so on, which offered us so much scope and flexibility in what we were able to do.
“Then you couple it with the other environments as well, such as using the local stream, which is ice cold water that came down from the mountains and replicates an ice bath.
“We used the most of the beautiful surroundings, which enabled us to have some social activities, whether it was in the evening, or on the down day we had in the middle of one of the weeks.
“We went up the cable cars, into the ice caves in the mountains before going up to a huge peak where you overlook the mountain, the valley and the lake, which was just a stunning view.
“Looking forward, we would definitely come back to this venue again in the future, not only because of what I have just said, but the staff were second to none and worked hard to accommodate all of our needs.”
Three games, frustratingly called off due to unpredictable Austrian weather did provide a blip to the trip, but the Clarets did manage to squeeze a fixture in before returning home last weekend; beating a local side 8-0.
Blake (pictured above addressing the players) said: “Despite having three games called off, the game we did play helped with the lads’ physical element, so the lads got the important game time that we were working towards, hitting their intensity levels for the league fixtures.
“The players have worked at a level where they are now ready to perform at the highest level in terms of their capabilities.
“There have been key messages within the technical and tactical work that has been done on the trip and in pre-season, to make sure we have patterns of play with the way we play and also key messages within our philosophy which resonates from the first team.”
Burnley’s Youth Team kick off their North West Youth Alliance fixtures on Wednesday at 2pm with a home game against Tranmere Rovers, which takes place at Burnley Belvedere.