THE pride of Turf Moor, the Burnley youth team have a bright future according to assistant boss Jason Tindall.
Tindall was at Craven Cottage to see the young Clarets beat Fulham 3-1 on Wednesday night, to earn a place in the FA Youth Cup semi-final for the first time since 1978 – and a date with old enemy Blackburn Rovers.
Terry Pashley’s side have given the club a huge shot in the arm with their heroics – beating three Academy sides on the way to the last four, and Tindall said: “From our point of view, it is great. There are some very talented lads who have a bright future ahead of them, and a great chance of going on and playing in the first team.
“They have done themselves proud.
“I was at the game and they were terrific – it was a great performance and they played some excellent passing football.
“To beat a well-fancied side, who have spent a lot of money, in the manner they did was a great achievement.
“Every credit to the players, Pash and Faz (Andy Farrell) and the rest of the staff.”
One of the team, Steve Hewitt, has already signed a professional contract after catching the eye of boss Eddie Howe, and Tindall added: “It’s three Academy sides they’ve beaten now – Ipswich, West Brom and Fulham – and you begin to question if there is a big difference between Centres of Excellent and Academies.
“If you have the right staff who work in the right way, you can achieve success.
“It’s a fantastic effort to reach the semi-finals, and I’m sure there will be a superb turnout and atmosphere for both legs against Blackburn.”
It will be a different way for Howe and Tindall to experience their first East Lancashire derby, but Tindall is eagerly anticipating the ties: “We probably didn’t expect our first derby to come this way, but they will be two great nights.
“There is such a big rivalry, and I’m sure the supporters will be out in force.
“They should be two really enjoyable evenings, and hopefully the lads can continue their great form and go on.
“They have performed so well, not only winning games, but playing great football, and it’s fantastic for the club.
“It puts it all into perspective that the other semi-final is Chelsea against Manchester United – to get to the last four, ahead of so many other Premier League and Championship youth teams is a great effort.”
Burnley came from behind to knock Fulham out, Ronny Minkwitz gave Fulham an early lead with a 30-yarder that deceived Josh Cook.
But the Clarets responded well and could have levelled before Cameron Howieson scored directly from a corner.
Howieson then put Burnley ahead within a minute of the restart, heading in Hewitt’s free kick, before Shay McCartan’s delightful solo effort sealed the win, racing clear from Jason Gilchrist’s pass before lifting the ball over Cottagers keeper Grant Smith.
There are no dates set as yet for the two-legged semi-final with Blackburn. Details and ticket news will appear as soon as they are available.