TERRY Pashley hopes the weather doesn’t rain on the youth team’s parade, as the young Clarets prepare to take the stage at Old Trafford.
Having gone all the way to the FA Youth Cup semi finals last season, Burnley have been handed the toughest of assignments to kick-off this year’s campaign.
To have a chance of emulating their incredible run of 2011/12, which included a quarter final win at Fulham, the first and second year scholars must first overcome Manchester United at the Theatre of Dreams on Friday (7pm).
But with the prospect of a bigger, slicker surface to play on than usual, Pashley admits the wet weather has been playing havoc with their preparations with the Gawthorpe pitches under water.
“We need to get on the grass. The weather has so far dictated otherwise, so hopefully we’ll be looking for some real improvement with it (today),” said the youth coach, who admits they could not have asked for a more difficult opening tie.
“This time last year we started with Boston away, now we start with Manchester United away, so it doesn’t get much more difficult really.
“You just hope that the boys turn up on the night and don’t freeze.
“We know they can play but we will have to defend well as well.”
Burnley go into the game on the back of a six-game winning run in the Youth Alliance League, while in the last three games they have conceded only twice.
Pashley sees their upturn in form, following three defeats in their opening four games, as a sign that the squad – made up largely of a new intake – are starting to gel.
“We started the season slowly but I said that would be the case. I said not to judge them until the new year or even next season,” said Pashley, who had a spell in caretaker charge of the first team in between Eddie Howe leaving and Sean Dyche’s appointment in October.
“Because we’ve not had the second year quota to help these lads along, as they went up to the development squad, they’ve had to find their feet themselves.
“If I’m being honest at the start of the season they found it difficult.
“There’s nothing wrong with that.
“You’ve got to learn from it.
“You’ve got to get over your mistakes and your disappointments and, to be fair, the boys have. They’ve started now to show some of the performances that we knew were in there.”