Young Clarets looking for loans to make next step

Tinashe Chakwana in action for Burnley's Under 23s at Turf Moor.
Tinashe Chakwana in action for Burnley's Under 23s at Turf Moor.
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Academy manager Jon Pepper has confirmed that the Clarets will be looking secure loan moves for a batch of the club’s youngsters in the near future.

The former academy coach at Nottingham Forest, who spent six years with Bradford City, believes a number of players are ready for the next phase in their development.

Pepper spoke after Burnley’s Under 23s put six past Sheffield United at the Tameside Stadium on Monday, with striker Tinashe Chakwana netting four in the week of his 20th birthday.

Daniel Agyei and substitute Mark Howarth were also on the scoresheet, both converting Robbie Brady set-pieces against the Blades.

“For this group, in and around 18/19, with some pushing towards 20, the next step would be to go out on loan,” he said. “We might be looking at the Christmas point where someone like Tinashe will go out on loan, so we can see how he’ll do playing men’s football week in, week out.

“I think that would be the next step for them and then we’ll assess it from there. Dwight (McNeil) has gone through the system quite smoothly into the first team so that was his pathway.

“With this group, over the next 12 months, some of them will have to go and play senior football.They’re showing now that they’re capable of that.

“There were scouts in the stand and I’d be looking at one or two who could do a good job at whatever level.”

Chakwana doubled his tally for the campaign as the Clarets ended United’s seven-match unbeaten run in the Professional Development League, and Pepper added: “I’m pleased for Tinashe, he’s really worked hard in recent months. He was in the right positions and finished well. You can’t fault that.

“He had one disallowed as well. They were really clean finishes. I’m really pleased for him but he’s capable of that. It’s good for him and it’s a reflection of how well he’s done in the last few months.

“He’s got a lot to offer. When he’s on his game, playing up there and down the middle, he really closes problems. He plays off the shoulder, comes short, gets it in to his feet, a little bit like Jermain Defoe. He can be a good finisher when he’s on it.”