The youth team are in action against Manchester City tomorrow evening and the young Clarets have every chance of taking another big scalp in the FA Youth Cup, writes Michael Bailey.
The magic of the cup isn’t just reserved for senior football and last season a brilliant run from our boys ended in a 3-1 defeat to bitter rivals Blackburn with both legs being witness by over 10,000 fans.
This season has started in similarly exciting fashion as Terry Pashley’s team came back from behind on two occasions to beat Manchester United at Old Trafford with Jason Gilchrist, a lifelong United fan, grabbing a hat-trick in the Theatre of Dreams to secure our passage through to the fourth round.
Burnley face a team that confidently dispatched Sunderland 3-1 in the last round making full use of their elite development squad (EDS) but despite all the gloss they are by no means world beaters.
They have suffered several large defeats this season including a 6-1 loss against current cup holders Chelsea while struggling to do the business at the other end of the pitch. Managing a paltry 16 goal in 13 games compared with a lethal Claret strike-force that has scored 36 in 13 games.
All these statistics will however count for nothing with City likely to draft in their stars of tomorrow from the EDS like they did against Sunderland with England u19 international George Evans set to pull the strings in the middle of the park.
Alongside Evans will likely be Sinan Bytyqi, Jose Angel Pozo and Marcos Lopes who all netted in round three. Of particular interest is Pozo, the young Spaniard has been tipped as the next Raul with his ability to create something out of nothing.
While the Clarets may not boast the next Raul we do have possibly the next Charlie Austin in our ranks. Young striker Gilchrist, who joined the club from Manchester City, plundered his fourth hat-trick of the season against the Red Devils in the last round and will be hoping for more against his former club.
The Burnley Express Sports Editor Chris Boden picked out his one to watch, “Cameron Howieson is the captain, a technically-gifted attacking midfielder, comfortable in possession. Capable of chipping in with goals, as his header at Old Trafford attests, he has already made his full international debut for New Zealand and played for the All Whites at the Olympics. Only just turned 18, he has a big future ahead of him.”
Manager Terry Pashley is a stalwart of youth development at Burnley and he’ll already have his team prepped and ready for what they are going to face and if they show the same kind of steely determination that they displayed in December there is no reason why our boys can’t once again upset the odds.
A big away following will hopefully help inspire the boys and season ticket holders have been offered free admission to the Etihad with adult tickets priced at £3 and £1 concessions. Free parking is also available at the stadium, more admission details can be found here.
Will you be there roaring on the boys? Can they make it two out of two from the big Manchester clubs? Comment below.