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Stone Looking For New Blood

New faces needed to keep driving Under-23s forward

12 July 2019

Steve Stone is hoping to bolster his squad before the Under-23s start their competitive action.

The former England international currently is preparing for his first full campaign as boss of the Clarets’ Under-23 side with a training camp in Poland.

Former FC United and Curzon Ashton full-back Joel Senior is the only new recruit on the trip, which ends on Saturday with a friendly on site against Pogon Szczecin’s second string.

Stone also has a number of trialists he is assessing on the trip but is keen to add to his numbers – and keep improving the quality – when he is back at the Barnfield Training Centre next week.

“All managers and all coaches want new players all the time,” said Stone, who guided the Clarets to a fourth-place finish in the Professional Development League's northern section last season following his appointment in November.

Poland Stone training chat.jpg

“At the end of last season we let four or five players go who had been here a while, like Clarkey, Mark Howard and Tinashe, who had all done really well for the club but I felt needed to go and play men’s football.

“We needed to create a bit of space for the younger ones coming through or some fresh ones to bring from other clubs.

“The only disappointing thing about it is I haven’t been able to bring anyone else in yet.

“I haven’t let that be a frustration and I’ve worked with what we’ve got because that's part of the job as well, but the intention is to bring some in and to up the level.

“I’ve always said we need to up the level every time we bring somebody in, to bring in a better player than we have.

“That’s progression and I think the Academy has been doing that over the last two or three years, from where they have come from as a Category Three to where they are now.

“It’s changed massively, and I’ve got to push it even harder and, hopefully, somewhere down the line we’ll go Cat One, and to get there we’ve got to have good players.

“We have to build with the players we’ve got, work hard with the younger ones, but also bring them in. It’s no different from managing the first team in that sense. You work with what you’ve got.”

The U23s play their opening domestic pre-season friendly at Stalybridge Celtic next Wednesday night and have half-a-dozen warm-up games penciled in before the start of the PDL on the weekend beginning 9 August.

Under-23 pre-season programme:

PogoĊ„ Szczecin II (A Opalenica) - Sat, 13 July (12pm local time).

Stalybridge Celtic (A) – Wed, 17 July (7.45pm)

Bamber Bridge (A) – Wed, 24 July (7.45pm)

Cheltenham Town (A) – Sat, 27 July (3pm)

Curzon Ashton (A) – Wed, 31 July (7.45pm)

Connah’s Quay Nomads (H) Sat, 3 Aug (11:30am)

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