Burnley’s U23 side round off their campaign with a final against Liverpool on Wednesday night in the Lancashire Senior Cup.
Set to be played at the Lancashire FA’s County Ground in Leyland, the Clarets go in search of silverware to cap off a season of progression which saw them finish outside the play-offs on goal difference alone in the Premier League 2, Division 2.
Last Friday, Max Thompson and Joe McGlynn (2) were on target in a 5-3 defeat to league leaders Fulham away from home, a game which saw Burnley end up on the wrong side of the scoreline despite leading on three separate occasions.
Success against the Reds on Wednesday evening – 7:30pm kick-off – would mark the 13th time the club has won the competition, and would make it a regional double for the club after the women’s team won the LFA Challenge Cup earlier this year.
To get to this stage in the Senior Cup this term, the Clarets U23s have overcome three Football League outfits.
First came Barrow, who the Clarets U23s beat via a penalty shootout after a goalless draw. Then came a 3-0 victory away at Bolton Wanderers in the quarter-finals where Dara Costelloe bagged a brace along with a Lewis Richardson strike.
Progression into the final meanwhile came last month away against an experienced Accrington Stanley outfit including centre back Ross Sykes. Burnley raced into an early 2-0 lead at the Wham Stadium thanks to another Thompson goal, and a penalty from Ben Woods.
Stanley had the better of the second half though and halved the deficit through former Claret Rhys Fenlon with eight minutes remaining only for Costelloe to strike deep into added time on the break and round things off.
Their opponents in the last two – Liverpool – however pose a different threat. Finishing 4th in the Premier League 2, Division 1, the Reds went on an unbeaten run of eight matches in the division to end their campaign.
Most recently, they beat Manchester United U23s 3-1 with the scorers including Rhys Williams, who featured regularly in the Premier League last year and helped Liverpool into a Champions League spot.
Barry Lewtas manages the Reds’ U23s who, though are classed as a Merseyside club, have historically been a part of the Lancashire Senior Cup and – like Burnley – are 12-time winners of the competition.
Receiving a bye in the first round this season, Liverpool swept aside Preston North End in the last eight before seeing off an experienced Blackpool side in the semi-finals, winning 4-1 at their AXA Training Centre.
Coverage of the final on Wednesday evening comes on Twitter - @ClaretsAcademy