Tough test for Burnley Under 23s as strategic partnerships continue to develop

Burnley will continue to develop their strategic partnerships as the Under 23s face Scottish Championship side Ayr United at Somerset Park on Saturday.

Ayr United boss David Hopkin
Ayr United boss David Hopkin

Back in May, the Clarets made their first steps to increase the club’s footprint after agreeing strategic partnerships with clubs in Scotland (Ayr), Wales (Llandudno), Northern Ireland (Portadown) and the Republic (Cobh Ramblers).

Shortly after, Barnfield was the venue for an Under 16s tournament between the clubs, and now the Under 23s, currently being looked after by Michael Jackson, after Steve Stone’s step up to first team coach, and Andy Farrell, will face Ayr - with home fans only permitted.

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The Under 23s have had a training camp in Scotland this week, based at Stirling University, and lost 4-2 to a Rangers B team on Wednesday afternoon.

The Academy side will now close their trip with a match against Ayr (kick-off 1 p.m.).

Chief Operating Officer Matt Williams said: “We are delighted to be making our first visit to Somerset Park and we know it will be a tough challenge for our 23 group, but one that they are relishing.

“Since the partnerships were announced, we staged a very successful U16 tournament and there has been lots of dialogue between all the clubs, particularly at Academy level, where our Head of Coaching Ian Jones has led various zoom calls and information sharing.

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“I am sure as the country begins to open up and the season gets underway, staff from all clubs will have the opportunity of visiting each other and develop the partnerships even further.”

Ayr United chairman David Smith added: “The partnership with Burnley is a strategically important one for Ayr United and we are delighted to host them and allow our young players to actively look at the pathway available.”