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Duff looks for competitive edge

Under-23 boss Michael Duff plots a learning curve for young Clarets

19 July 2017

Michael Duff says his young players must learn to live up to their status with a top-flight club as they head towards a break-through season with the Clarets’ Development Squad.

Duff’s under-23 side won their opening pre-season friendly 2-0 at neighbours Colne.

But it took two late goals to beat the Evo Stik Division One North side, who made life hard for the Clarets before Tundi Bayodi and Robbie Leitch struck in the last 10 minutes.

And Duff – who will lead Burnley into the Professional Development League for the first time this season –  admits bridging the gap against more experienced players and reflecting the Clarets’ Premier League standing are targets to strive for.

He said: “You’re never going to come to these sorts of places and the opposition is just going to turn up and roll over.

“I think one thing we learned is we have to compete better.

Ian Woan

Assistant manager Ian Woan watched the Development Squad at Colne

"Most of their lads have been in and around where our lads are now, but they have got four or five years’ experience of playing at this level.

“We’re not really particularly bothered about the results at this stage.

“It’s just getting the players to recognise where they’re at.

“They are at a Premier League club, so there is a lot expected of them now. People are coming to watch.”

Alex Whitmore

Alex Whitmore brought his experience to bear

There was a crowd of several hundred at Holt House as Duff gave most of his squad an extended run-out against a Colne side which reached the promotion play-offs last season.

Tellingly, defender Alex Whitmore, with 35 League Two appearances from a loan spell at Morecambe last season behind him, looked one of the more assured performers.

But there were also encouraging signs from one or two others, including goalscorer Bayodi and a couple of the Clarets’ second-year scholars.

“It is the first pre-season game and you’re not expecting people to be fully up-and-running,” added Duff.

Rahis Nabi

Former West Bromwich Albion youngster Rahis Nabi settles into a Burnley shirt

"Some of them played for 65-70 minutes, which for a first pre-season game is a lot to ask, and when you’re tired you get a bit sloppy.

“It’s about getting miles into the legs and a few fundamentals we are looking to drop in and some things we’ve got to improve on.

“I think maybe the fitness and a little bit of quality showed out at the end. There were some positives. There’s plenty to work with.”

Oliver YoungerPast and present as Oliver Younger is watched by ex-Clarets Chris Lynch and Alex Coleman


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