BURTON Albion’s under 18s team will kick-off a busy pre-season period with a trip to Liverpool, as they take on the Reds youth team for a second-consecutive year, before the experience of facing no less than six men’s sides.
The Professional Development Phase hosted Liverpool under 18s at St George’s Park, in Steven Gerrard’s first game in charge, last year and the two sides will now meet at Liverpool Academy’s Kirkby training ground ahead of the new campaign.
The young Brewers will travel to Merseyside on Thursday July 12 for a midday kick-off, before facing Uttoxeter Town on Saturday the 14th (3pm). Monday the 16th will see the under 18s face South Normanton Athletic (7:30pm).
The following Saturday (21st), the Brewers will play Tamworth at the Lamb Ground, in a 3pm kick-off, and Rocester on the 24th of July (7:45pm). On Saturday July 28, the under 18s will face Loughborough Dynamo in a 3pm kick-off. They will round off their pre-season preparations with a visit to the Moat Ground to take on Gresley FC (7:30pm) on Wednesday August 1st.
Professional Development Phase Lead Coach Sam Rose feels that the mix of teams that the under 18s will face in pre-season will provide good experience ahead of the 2018/19 Youth Alliance campaign.
He said: “We will take the squad up to Liverpool’s training ground and play their under 18s side. We obviously had the experience of being part of Steven Gerrard’s first game as the Liverpool u18 coach last year, and it is always good to play strong opposition straight away in pre-season and give the lads a taste of what standards you can hit as a young player.
“Liverpool, I would imagine, will be a strong side and it will be a good learning opportunity for the boys to experience that type of environment.
“In addition to playing Liverpool, we are playing six matches against men’s teams. These will be tough games and will be a similar style to the Youth Alliance. It allows us to work with the group on the basics of the game against what will be strong and experienced opposition. For some of the group, particularly the boys joining us from the u16s of last season, we are expecting it to be an invaluable experience.
‘’The loan strategy has been a big part of what we have done this year, in terms of giving lads an opportunity for challenge, and we have used pre-season as a way of starting that process, really.
‘’Hopefully, we can cement our relationships with the clubs that we are playing, and then we may be in a position to loan some of those players back to those clubs for them to continue their development in the men’s game, as we did so successfully last season with Reece Hutchinson and Callum Hawkins.
“Off the pitch, we will be linking-in with the first-team for a variety of activities. We will also be working at points with the Community Trust, through their community action projects, to put together a pre-season programme that will not only develop the boys to be better players, but also better people."