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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Cheltenham Town v Burnley U23s

Young Clarets face 'Football League' test against Michael Duff's Robins

27 July 2019

The Under-23s face their toughest pre-season test in a reunion with former boss Michael Duff on Saturday.

Turf Moor legend Duff left his job as Under-23s’ head coach last September to end a 14-year-association with the Clarets.

The former defender took on his first senior management post in charge of former club Cheltenham Town.

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And after successfully guiding the Robins to Football League safety and a 16th-place finish, Duff is gearing up for his first full season in charge with a closing pre-season friendly at home to the Clarets.

“Duffo was a really big part of the club here,” said Steve Stone, who took over from Duff last November.

“He did an excellent job with the Under-23s and obviously worked with a lot of these players.

“He has started really well at Cheltenham, so we know what a test it will be.

“But I’m looking for our lads to go and have a real experience of what League football is.

“That’s why we’ve done it. The games we’ve been playing have been a step up from last year and this is definitely a step up. It’s a huge step up.

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“We might not have a lot of the ball and let’s see what we have to do with the defending side of the game and on the counter-attack.

“It’s something we might have to do at times, and you have to learn. You have to be resilient and I sense it will be that type of game. But it’s a challenge we’ll relish.”

Cheltenham – who drew 2-2 at home to Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night following a 2-1 loss to Leicester City last weekend – open their League Two campaign away to newly-promoted Leyton Orient on Saturday-week and so are likely to be close to full strength as they fine-tune their preparations.

The Clarets have so far lost and won against BetVictor Premier League opposition during their preparations for the new Professional Development League campaign.

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Rob Harker scored the mid-week winner at Bamber Bridge

But having been without a couple of his ‘senior’ players, Stone is hoping reinforcements for the game at Whaddon Road (KO 3pm).   

“We’ve got a few injuries, because we’ve worked them hard, and I need to get a few players in, so getting a few back from the first team would be nice,” added the U23s’ boss.

“Hopefully I will get a few stronger ones and that will make it a more competitive game and that’s what I’m looking forward to.

“It’s been great the lads have gone up to the first team – Josh (Benson), Ali (Koiki) and Dunny (Jimmy Dunne). That’s a real positive, but I might need them back.”

Admission is payable on the day: adults £12 and concessions £6.

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