DANNY Cadamarteri has ‘great memories’ of the Youth Cup as a player and he will seek to recreate those good times with his young Burnley charges this season.

The Clarets get their Youth Cup campaign underway at Turf Moor against Leeds United tonight (7pm) as they seek to continue a fine start to the season.

Former Everton academy ace Cadamarteri can regale the Under-18s with stories of his own success in the competition, having won it with the Toffees in 1998, scoring in the first leg of the final against Blackburn Rovers.

“It’s great memories. I played in the Youth Cup two years on the bounce, the first year we got the semi’s and got knocked out and the next year we went on to win it,” he said.

“It’s a great competition to be involved in. There’s a lot of interest from the media, a lot of interest in your players.

“It’s one the lads always look forwards too. When we went to Prague in the summer to play in the tournament the lads were talking about it then.

“It’s an opportunity for the boys to pit their wits against teams in higher and lower categories, on a first team pitch in front of first team staff, so it’s a massive night for them.”

Burnley and Leeds faced each other on Saturday in the Professional Development League, with the Clarets winning 2-1 to go top of the league. But Cadamarteri expects both sides to make plenty of changes for tonight’s game.

The Clarets only moved up in a regular games programme this summer when their academy was upgraded to Category 2 status under the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), and Cadamarteri is delighted with the start they have made.

“The good thing for us this season is we’ve stepped up a category and we’ve competed really well at this level. We’ve put ourselves in a good position in the league, we’ve got the Youth Cup to look forward too and we’re still in the Lancashire Cup. It’s good to have different experiences,” he said.

“The Youth Cup game has given us the chance to split the groups a bit and give some game time to lads who haven’t played that much and we’ve pushed players up.

“It ticks a lot of boxes for us in developing players, putting them in a tournament environment, getting all of our players on the field and hopefully building some momentum.”

With the Under-23s without a game this week Cadamarteri could have some of the youngsters who have joined up with Michael Duff’s group back in his side for tonight’s important match.

Defenders Scott Wilson, Oliver Younger and James Clarke have all featured for Duff’s side, while 17-year-old winger Dwight McNeil has been a standout performer in the higher age group.

“We’ve had a really good start to the league this season, we lost a few up to the Under-23s, which is my job,” Cadamarteri said.

“A lot of the defence went up in Scott, Ollie and Clarkey, Dwight is a regular up there as well.”