PNE youth team thread: 2019-20 season.


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Preston North End’s U18 side will face two new opponents in the EFL North West Youth Alliance league for the 2019/20 season, once they have come through a seven-game pre-season programme.
There will be a new champion at the end of the season, with last season’s table toppers Wigan Athletic no longer competing in the division, and it is runners-up Rochdale who will be North End’s first competitive opponents of the season with an away game on Saturday 3rd August.
The Lilywhites host Morecambe the following weekend before travelling to face newly promoted EFL side Salford City, who have the joined the Youth Alliance league set-up.

A tasty opening trio of away games is completed by a trip to face local rivals Blackpool on 31st August, with the corresponding fixture scheduled for the opening weekend of 2020 on 4th January.
Another away game to look out for falls on 12th October when Oldham Athletic, another new addition to the league’s North West section, host Nick Harrison’s side during the international break.
Two other games will fall during the international break in the league season, with PNE hosting Accrington Stanley in September and Shrewsbury Town in November.
North End welcome the Latics back to Preston on Saturday 22nd February 2019 and will end the campaign at home to Salford on Saturday 2nd May 2020.
In pre-season meanwhile, PNE have seven matches officially lined up for the U18 side, while one other fixture, for a PNE select XI, is likely to be made up of mostly Nick Harrison's squad.
First up is Morecambe this Saturday and the Lilywhites will also take on two other opponents from their league in Salford and Rochdale during pre-season, with fixtures against higher Category sides penned in, with visits to Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers after hosting Sheffield Wednesday.
The PNE select XI will be against Longridge Town’s first team. The game is lkely to be mostly club’s scholars involved, with the one other friendly, a home game with Grimsby Town, scheduled for the following day.
Fixture dates and kick-off times are subject to change, sometimes at short notice.
All kick-off times are 11am unless stated otherwise. The youth team's home venue is UCLan Sports Arena, while the locations of away matches are confirmed nearer to the time of the game on @pnefcacademy on Twitter.
6th July – Morecambe (H) 10.30am
13th July – Salford City (H)
16th July – Longridge Town vs PNE XI (A) 7.30pm
17th July – Grimsby Town (H) 12 noon
20th July – Rochdale (A) KO TBC
24th July – Sheffield Wednesday (H) 11.30am
27th July – Middlesbrough (A) 12 noon
31st July – Bolton Wanderers (A)
North West Youth Alliance fixtures
3rd August – Rochdale (A) 10.30am
10th August – Morecambe (H) 10.30am
17th August – Salford City (A)
31st August – Blackpool (A)
7th September – Accrington Stanley (H) 10.30am
21st September – Fleetwood Town (A) 10.30am
28th September – Bury (H) 10.30am
12th October – Oldham Athletic (A) 10.30am
19th October – Walsall (H)
2nd November – Carlisle United (A)
16th November – Shrewsbury Town (H)
23rd November – Tranmere Rovers (A)
30th November – Port Vale (H)
14th December – Accrington Stanley (A)
4th January – Blackpool (H) 10.30am
18th January – Bury (A)
25th January – Fleetwood Town (H) 10.30am
15th February – Walsall (A)
22nd February – Oldham Athletic (H) 10.30am
7th March – Shrewsbury Town (A)
14th March – Carlisle United (H)
21st March – Port Vale (A)
4th April – Tranmere Rovers (H)
18th April – Rochdale (H) 10.30am
25th April – Morecambe (A)
2nd May – Salford City (H)
North End’s Youth Alliance Cup fixtures will also be confirmed on PNE.Com in the next couple of weeks.


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Are you still able to go and watch these games down at the Sports Arena?
I’d like to know the answer to this too please. Used to watch the youth team when coaching/my lass was playing at the Arena. Followed commentaries (thanks!) last season & would like to watch a few games this season health permitting.
I’d like to know the answer to this too please. Used to watch the youth team when coaching/my lass was playing at the Arena. Followed commentaries (thanks!) last season & would like to watch a few games this season health permitting.
Yes you can just turn up..i presume you have to only register interest if a scout or a member of staff from another club out of courtesy


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Out of curiosity, anyone know where the Blackpool game will be played? Could be in the area & sure one more voice wouldn’t go amiss.


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Two schoolboys were among North End’s five goalscorers as the youth team began their pre-season campaign by beating Morecambe 5-1.
Youth TeamPNE U18’s League And Pre-Season Fixtures Confirmed
4 July 2019

With Aaron Bennett’s deflected strike having given the young Lilywhites a half-time advantage, fellow U16 Levi Lewis doubled the lead just after the hour, sparking a late flurry of goals – Louis Potts, Joe Nolan and Tyrhys Dolan extending PNE’s winning margin amid Jack Greenwood’s reply.
Academy manager Nick Harrison set out with two different starting line-ups for each half of the Shrimps’ visit. All 16 scholars – nine second years and seven first years – got 45 minutes each, as did four schoolboys and two trialists.
Jimmy Corcoran was kept busy early on by an individual duel against forward Freddie Price, who twice met left-wing crosses at the near post in the opening stages, but after he’d blazed over initially, PNE’s ‘keeper saved comfortably from the second attempt.
It was North End that went ahead in the 14th minute, as Joe Rodwell-Grant spotted Bennett bursting into space down the right channel. The forward cushioned a pass into the path of Bennett, who waited on the edge of the area to strike it on the bounce, doing so sweetly as a slight deflection assisted in beating the Shrimps ‘keeper.
Wales youth international Bennett showed neat skill on the left minutes later but could not pull back to a team-mate, that after Corcoran had again saved comfortably, this time from outside the box.
Ethan Walker’s free-kick just before the half hour mark was a vicious one, punched away vitally by the goalkeeper, albeit right at Joe Blanchard, who might have converted but for the awkward height and trajectory of the bouncing ball.
Rodwell-Grant did find the net two minutes afterwards, sliding Bennett’s wonderful through ball beyond the goalkeeper, but the offside flag was raised.
Another marginal offside decision saw Bennett himself called back following some inspired vision from Walker, while Price again shot straight at Corcoran before the interval.
A full complement of North End half-time changes meant a quieter start to second half proceedings, the first event of note seeing Tyrhys Dolan clip a cross to the back post for Tyler Williams, who headed across goal and just wide.
A truly exquisite finish from Levi Lewis doubled PNE’s lead on 63 minutes . The pass from substitute goalkeeper Oliver Lombard was fantastic, too, finding Lewis in the opposition area as he chipped the onrushing goalkeeper – perfectly reading the flight of the ball with a supremely executed volley.
After a well-contested opening hour or so, North End closed the game with some excellent attacking play and eight minutes after the second, Louis Potts rounded the goalkeeper from Lewis Leigh’s ball over the defence to make it three.
Joe Nolan finished beautifully with ten minutes still to go when a low cross fell at his feet on the edge of the area, where he placed high into the right corner of goal.
Lucus Kirnon defended well against Greenwood minutes afterwards, halting a mazy run from the Morecambe man, but that couldn’t prevent a clean sheet, as Greenwood popped up again in the 84th minute to head home from a corner.
But second half skipper Dolan restored the four-goal margin with a minute to go, getting so much power behind his 20-yard daisy cutter that the opposition ‘keeper could not keep it out, that ensuring a five-star display in the maiden pre-season outing.
PNE first half line-up: Corcoran; Nicholson, Earl (captain), Blanchard, Coulton; Dooley, McManus; trialist; Bennett; Walker; Rodwell-Grant.
PNE second half line-up: Lombard; Leigh, Williams, Kirnon, trialist; Nolan, Huddart; Holland-Wilkinson, Dolan (captain), Lewis; Potts.


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Nick Harrison has been impressed with how his youth team players have started their pre-season campaign, making it two wins from two with a 5-3 triumph over Salford City on Saturday.

The Academy manager and his coaching staff took a group mainly comprising of the club’s scholars to Wales for a training camp during the week, only returning the day before the Salford game, in which Ethan Walker scored twice, Connor Simpson converted a penalty and new first year scholars Joe Rodwell-Grant and Ben Dooley registered themselves on the scoresheet.

Youth Team
PNE U18’s League And Pre-Season Fixtures Confirmed
4 July 2019
Having also seen the young Lilywhites hit five past Morecambe in last weekend’s opening pre-season victory, Harrison was pleased to see another high-scoring performance from the youth team players against Salford, a side PNE will take on in league action in less than a month’s time.

“It was a very good game with plenty of goals in it and there probably could have been some more as well,” Nick told PNE.Com. “I felt we created lots of chances and Salford did too, but I think we dominated the game and deserved to win.

“What was pleasing was the effort that all the players put in, especially after a tough week in Wales.

“We always try to play a game the day after we get back, I was really pleased with the week we spent there and really pleased with the performance against Salford.”
The youth team players spent four days at their training camp across the Welsh border, a frequent summer base for North End’s U18 squads over the last decade.

Nick explained that the time away allowed for all kinds of additional training, as well as the chance for the new first scholars and a couple of travelling schoolboys to further integrate with their new full-time team-mates.

“We’ve been going to Wales for a number of years now and first and foremost, it’s an opportunity for all the players and staff to spend some time together.

“We go through a lot of stuff in terms of what goes on in the classroom, show lots of videos and talk to the players about our expectations. But the main focus is on football and fitness and we had lots of sessions with the players, fitness sessions, weight sessions and obviously also football sessions.
“Players really stepped up in terms of their fitness, we went on some runs and did a lot of sprint work. Football’s massive on data now and the GPS and that sort of thing, so we get lots of results from it.

“We could also see the results from that in the game on Saturday and the players got through the game really well.

“What we expect and what we want to do now is step that up next week and start to give the players more and more minutes and hopefully getting up to that 90 minutes as quickly as possible.”

Having deployed two different teams in each half of the two friendlies thus far, two games in as many days in the upcoming midweek period is likely to see the youth team players staying on the pitch for longer than a 45-minute period.

A number of scholars are likely to be involved in Tuesday night’s PNE XI fixture away to Longridge Town (7.30pm kick-off), which will be followed by the visit of Grimsby Town to UCLan Sports Arena at 12 noon on Wednesday.

“We’re looking forward to another good week,” Nick added. “It’s an opportunity for us to start stepping up the players’ minutes because ultimately, that’s what they want to do – play in games.

“We’ve got a really tough challenge against a men’s team in Longridge Town on Tuesday and the day afterwards we have a game against Grimsby Town.
“We’ve got lots of players available, lots of schoolboys who will feature in the game on Wednesday and that gives us the opportunity to look at them as well.”

PNE first half line-up: Lombard; Nicholson, Kirnon, Earl, Coulton; Huddart, Baxter; Holland-Wilkinson, McManus, Walker; Simpson.

PNE second half line-up: Corcoran; Leigh, Earl, Blanchard, trialist; Nolan, Dooley; Rodwell-Grant, Bennett, Lewis; Potts.


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The youth team have learned the four other sides that they will compete against in their Youth Alliance Cup group this season.

A youth tournament comprising Category Three and Category Four Academy sides, the Youth Alliance Cup is spilt into Northern and Southern sections. The final will be contested by the winning side from each side of the draw at the end of the season.

Youth Team
Harrison Encouraged By Early Pre-Season Form
14 July 2019
In the Northern section, there are five groups each containing five teams, with North End drawn into Group 5. Each team plays against each other once, with the five group winners and three best-placed runners-up progressing to the regional quarter-finals.

There is a fairly familiar look to the Lilywhites’ group, with two sides from their own North West league division and the two other from the North East region.

And it will be the two sides furthest afield where Nick Harrison’s team will be travelling, starting off their campaign with a trip to Bradford City on Saturday 24th August.

PNE have a break on the middle weekend of September when the other sides will be competing, before returning to host Bury on Saturday 5th October.

North End’s youngsters will travel to Notts County for a third consecutive season in this competition on Saturday 26th October before completing their four-game group campaign at home to Rochdale a fortnight later on Saturday 9th November.

All dates are subject to change with kick-off times still to be determined.

Youth Alliance Cup fixtures

24th August – Bradford City (A)
5th October – Bury (H)
26th October – Notts County (A)
9th November – Rochdale (H)

Change to league fixtures

Meanwhile, in the league fixtures, North End’s matches against Rochdale have been reversed.

PNE will now face Dale at home on Saturday 3rd August with the corresponding fixture seeing the Lilywhites travel to last season’s league runners-up on Saturday 18th April 2020. Both fixtures remain 10.30am kick-offs.

All of the U18 side’s league fixtures were confirmed earlier this month, which you can view here to include the updated changes.