Philliskirk hopes impending move to category one will make Burnley more competitive with neighbours
Clubs are audited annually and put into one of four categories, with more funding and privileges the higher the category.
This time around, Burnley were hoping to move from Category Two to the top level, but that process has been delayed by the pandemic.
The move up would mean they would play in Premier League 2 Division Two, where Manchester United, Aston Villa and Newcastle United currently play, and potentially the EFL Trophy.
Philliskirk recently guided the Under 18s to the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup for the first time since 2012, losing 1-0 at Gareth Taylor's Manchester City, and the former Clarets striker admitted: “That’s why the club has applied to go category one academy, (to play clubs like this on a more regular basis).
“We know it’s going to be tough for us, we’ve got to be realistic, I’ve only been here 15/16 months and when they first went into cat two, they found it a bit of a struggle.
“Now we’re really competitive at cat two and do well, if we played our strongest team every week at cat two, we’d be up there challenging for honours.
“But we play very young, that Under 18s team was virtually our Under 23s team, that’s the way the club gives young players opportunities and moves forward.
“But we’re under no illusions as we go cat one next year, it’s going to be really, really tough for us to begin with, but hopefully we’ll attract better players, the profile will go even further, and that’s progression for the academy and the club, and that’s what we’re aiming for."
The run to the last eight saw Burnley see off Curzon Ashton, Mansfield Town, and West Bromwich Albion - who also play in Premier League 2 Division Two, and Philliskirk believes that achievement, while hard to match or better, will only make the club more appealing to young talent: “It’s raised the profile of the academy and the club as well, it’s such a long time since we got this far in the youth cup, so it is an achievement in itself.
“The lads have come such a long way in such a short space of time, it’s been a privilege working with them.
“A lot of lads are up with the Under 23s and probably won’t play Under 18 football again, so I’m just proud to have worked with them and helped them along the way, and hopefully they’ll get what they deserve when they try and make their way in professional football.
“I’ve said to the Under 16s and first years who were on the bench, you’ve got a hard act to follow next season!
“But we can’t just say we got to the quarter final of the FA Youth Cup in 2020 and say ‘well done’, we’ve got to look for progression, aiming to achieve that nearly every season.
“Now I’m not silly, the luck of the draw plays a big part - you could draw Man City in the third round next year, but, as an academy our aim is to try and keep progressing.
“Since I came I’ve seen a massive progression this season, and that is the aim of the academy and the club, to keep evolving.
“Look at the first team, they’ve evolved to become a Premier League team year in, year out - our aim is to establish ourselves as a category one academy and compete to begin with at that level, and then aim to go up and compete with your Man City’s, Man United’s, Liverpool, Everton - is that too big a step? Who knows.
“But it’s something we’ve got to aim for, we've got to look to improve to raise the standard of player, whether through our coaching, getting a better standard of player in, and that’s no disrespect to what we’ve got now, but I really think the FA Youth Cup run has heightened our profile and makes Burnley hopefully a more attractive place to come to in the future."