With the senior players at various places around Europe it is the young professionals who will add the experience to the side tonight but there is absolutely no first team experience anywhere to be found other than the recent substitute places some of them have won.
The four professionals Earl Davis, Andrew Leeson, Mark Rasmussen and Andrew Waine are all in the starting line up alongside seven scholars whilst the other two scholars are joined by three schoolboys from the Centre of Excellence on the bench.
Those from the centre are goalkeeper Michael Hale along with Mark Pugh and Darryl Avery who all featured last week against Tranmere in the FA Youth Cup. Pugh and Avery, along with two others from last week’s team Tom Ince and Neil Trotman, are already set to join the club as scholars next season and there is every chance that goalkeeper Hale could be joining them.
The young team tonight is: James Salisbury, Andrew Leeson, Ryan Townsend, Joel Pilkington, Earl Davis, Liam Eves, Mark Rasmussen, Andrew Waine, Damien Hindle, Richard Chaplow, Matthew O’Neill. Subs: Michael Hale, Steve Richardson, Robert Grimes, Marc Pugh, Darryl Avery.
Our opponents Tranmere will certainly be bringing a stronger side and include a player linked with Burnley just under a couple of years ago, Andy Parkinson. He and Kevin Gray have both been out injured and both play tonight although neither are even close to being considered for the first team.
The Tranmere team is: Russell Howarth, Richard Hinds, James Olsen, Tyrone Loran, Kevin Gray, Danny Harrison, Andy Parkinson, Jamie McGuire, Andy Robinson, Jason Price, Alex Hay. Subs: Paul Robinson, Philip Palethorpe, Steven Jennings, Alan Griffiths, Paul Brown.