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Stone: Win Will Give Big Belief

Young Clarets grow in stature with victory over League Two Robins

27 July 2019

Steve Stone was pleased to see his youngsters coming of age as the Clarets claimed the scalp of League Two side Cheltenham Town.

The Robins might not have been quite fully fired up in the last of their pre-season friendlies.

But with the start of the EFL just a week away, Michael Duff’s side was close to optimum strength to make it a confidence-boosting win for the Clarets who secured a 3-2 victory thanks to Bobby Thomas’ second-half header.

“I said beforehand it was about finding their level. This was a game against proper men – a League Two side – and they showed what they can do,” said Stone, who replaced Duff as boss of the Under-23s last November.

“That will give them huge belief and that’s what you’re looking for.

Stone Farrell bench.jpg

“Playing under-23s football you’re never quite sure where they’re going to get to. That gives them a little bit of a barometer today, which is pleasing for them.”

Stone’s side twice led early on through goals from trialists before Cheltenham hit back thanks to a Luke Varney double to make it 2-2 at the break.

But the Clarets – with Jimmy Dunne, Josh Benson and Ali Koiki strengthening the side on their return from first-team duty – stepped up a gear in the second half and were rewarded when centre-back Thomas headed home a Benson free-kick to make it back-to-back pre-season wins.

“I think to start with we unsure of what to expect. I think after a while they realised not to be fearful,” added Stone.

“Respect them, of course, because they have quality, but you have to impose your game on them.

Thomas celebration.jpg

“They caused some problems in the first half and we had to deal with that at half time and see how we could do that.

“They then have to take it on the pitch and do it and they were miles better in the second half.

“We stopped the crosses coming into the box and it was a much better display in the second half.

“They’ve still got to learn to move the ball better and keep the ball when we get possession.

“But how they went about it, you can’t be happier. It looked like more of a team and a squad and more like it should be.”

The Clarets continue their build-up with a trip Curzon Ashton next Wednesday night.

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