Steve Stone’s squad are enjoying life at the sharp end of the stick

Clarets coach Steve Stone
Clarets coach Steve Stone
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Steve Stone says that competing at the sharp end of the stick can only motivate his young Clarets squad.

Burnley’s under 23s are currently fighting on two fronts as they enter the business end of the campaign with the Professional Development League title still up for grabs and qualification to the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup still a distinct possibility.

The Clarets have the opportunity to close the gap on table-topping Leeds United today when they travel to the KCOM Stadium to take on bottom-of-the-league Hull City.

They’ll then take on West Brom at the Tameside Stadium on Monday, February 25th in a straight shoot-out for the last 16 of the competition.

A point for the Baggies against AFC Bournemouth at the start of the week saw them leapfrog Burnley in to second in Group C by virtue of goal difference.

“It’s an awful thing when you need to draw a game with how you approach it,” said Stone, with a point good enough to seal the away side’s progression.

“If you know you have got to win you have to go and win the game. You don’t go hell for leather, you play it as a normal game and you try and win it.

“They are a good side, make no bones about it, we hung on for a 2-2 last time and they were really good.

“We will keep our group together, we won’t drop any first team lads in, we will develop this team and win, lose or draw these lads will have a go.”

Stone’s side came back from a two-goal deficit at half-time against Bolton Wanderers at the County Ground in Leyland to win 4-2 on Monday.

Michael Fowler sparked the comeback on the hour, fellow second-year scholar Bobby Thomas equalised two minutes later, Dan Agyei headed the visitors in front while Josh Benson converted a set-piece late on.

Speaking afterwards, Stone added: “The lads just want to keep rolling their sleeves up and keep going out there at the minute, that is what happens when you win games you just want to go out and keep playing.

“This certainly now gives them something to go for. And that’s what you want. You want to be at the sharp end of the stick.

“You want to be playing against Category One teams and I want to test the players and keep testing them.

“And there are some games coming up now which will drive them.”