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Scholars Get New Turf Moor Deals

19 April 2017

Five of the Clarets’ second-year scholars are being kept on as they look to forge a successful career at Turf Moor.

And Academy boss Jonathan Pepper (above) hopes they will go on to become key members of the club’s under-23 squad next season.

Strikers Tinashe Chakwana and Tommy Wood, midfielders Tunde Bayode and Mark Howarth and goalkeeper Connor King will all take up third-year scholarships at Burnley next season.

In addition, Ali Koiki – another member of Michael Duff’s under-18 team pushing for the Youth Alliance North-West title – has had his contract extended for a further 12 months after joining the Clarets last summer.

However, midfielders Miles Fenton and Tyler Shrimpton and defender Billy Grogan are to be released at the end of the season when they reach the end of their initial two-year scholarships.

Third-year scholar, goalkeeper Tony Agayere, 19, will also leave Turf Moor this summer and forward RJ Pingling is being released.

Strikers Tinashe Chakwana (above) and Tommy Wood have helped fire the Youth Team into title contention

But striker Khius Metz, 19, has been given a further six-month deal after missing much of the current campaign through injury.

The Clarets have also taken up an option on a further 12-month deal for goalkeeper Conor Mitchell.

And Pepper says the plan is for Mitchell, 20, to be joined in the Clarets’ Development Squad – which will be hopefully playing league football next season – by more homegrown players from the scholarship programme.

The Clarets’ Academy Manager said: “The scholars have really kicked on this year, the first and second years, which is reflected in their recent form going up the league, compared with where they finished last year.

“It would be nice to get the under-23s a core nucleus of players who have been with the club for a number of years, rather than at the moment where the under-23s is very much a mixed group that have been introduced into the club the last year or two.

Midfielders Tunde Bayode (above) and Mark Howarth are staying on

“It would be good to have a group of players who have been with us for a while and then a few additions to make up that squad so they really have an affiliation with the club and they understand what we are all about – the culture, the work ethic etc.

“It’s very difficult if you bring a whole new group of players in from all different environments and backgrounds to instil in them what exactly what we need and what we want.

“It would be nice to have a core group of seven or eight players who have come through the Academy in that group next and just add on from outside and look to increase that over the years.”

Goalkeepers Conor Mitchell (above) and Connor King have also been offered extended stays

The Clarets have taken up the option of third-year scholarships for the teenagers they are keeping on, rather than signing them on first-year professional deals, as the scholarship system allows players to join non-league clubs on work experience outside transfer windows.

“It gives us a bit more flexibility with the players if lads need game time and that experience of playing men’s football.

“It’s very similar in terms of salaries and in terms of status and they don’t get treated any differently,” added Pepper, who also wished the best to those who will leave Turf Moor in the summer.

“We will support the lads that don’t make it in anything they want to do," he said.

"Hopefully they’ve had a great experience here, not only in football but life experience, and they can kick on with whatever they want to do, and if they want to continue their football careers use this as a building block.”

Burnley Football Club would like to thank all the players for their efforts and wish them every success in their future careers. 

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