Jon Pepper welcomed the return of Mark Howarth but admitted his side were slightly off the pace as the Clarets' under-23s fell to a 3-0 defeat against Hull City.
The midfielder, 19, has been sidelined for over six months with a stress fracture in his back but played for an hour as Burnley - who also included Robbie Brady on his return ti full fitness - were beaten in the Professional Development League.
Academy Manager Pepper, who again lead the side at the Tameside Stadium, said "Mark hasn’t played for a long time really, so for him to get 60 minutes under his belt was good for him.
“That can on only bode well for him and for the future, so it was good to see him back on the field”.
After a dominant first-half display from the Clarets, Pepper thought his side could have gone into the break in front, rather than trailing 1-0.
He added: "I thought the first-half we had quite a few good opportunities to actually get a couple of goals really. I think we looked a threat going forward in the first 45.
“Then the second half we started quite poorly and conceded that early goal, then your 2-0 behind and chasing the game and lots of gaps appeared."
The Tigers featured senior duo Will Keane, brother of former Claret Michael and ex-Arsenal midfielder Jon Toral in their side.
Both were on the score-sheet in the second half and Pepper admitted the pair had made a difference as Burnley lost at home for only the second time this season.
"The couple of lads they had up-front really helped them, sort of retaining the ball and causing our back four problems all afternoon really," he said.
“So it was a real good test for our young lads against that bit of experience up front."