Clitheroe footballer’s big chance

Chris Bailey
Chris Bailey

A CAREER as a professional footballer could become a reality for a member of Burnley College’s Football Academy following a two-day trial at Scunthorpe United.

Central midfielder Chris Bailey, 17, was invited to train with the Scunthorpe youth team by former Burnley defender and current Scunthorpe assistant manager Chris Brass.

College Academy coaches Barry Knowles and Gerry Harrison first invited Brass to watch the Academy in action last season while he was working for Bury.

Advanced Level Football Studies student Chris, who lives in Clitheroe and attended Ribblesdale High School, has now been invited back to train with the youth team at Christmas.

He said: “It was nerve-wracking walking into the dressing room and introducing myself to established youth team players, but as soon as I got out onto the pitch I became much more confident.

“I received really good feedback from the coaches and I’m looking forward to going back at Christmas.

“The College Academy’s professional facilities, training schedule and the coaches’ contacts in the game have been really beneficial to my progress in the game and I really hope that my time studying and playing at the college will help me achieve my dream goal of becoming a professional footballer.”

Knowles added: “From the reports we have had back from Scunthorpe, Chris more than held his own with the full-time scholars and they are looking forward to welcoming him back at Christmas to play in a game for the Under 18s.

“He was also recently selected to train with the North West Colleges squad, where he performed really well against some of the best college players in the region.

“We are delighted that he has been given the opportunity to demonstrate his talents to a professional league club and look forward to following his progress with them over the next few months.”

Chris, along with Callum Broadleday, Scott Byrom and Marko Marosi was also selected for trials with the North West Colleges football squad at Manchester College.

And he and Marosi were then chosen to represent the North West at the England trials which will be held in Birmingham.

Brad Pates, Programme Leader for Sport at Burnley College, said: “We have a tradition of supplying high quality players to the North West Colleges squads and are delighted that we have repeated this success again this year in two different disciplines.

“Being a member of these regional and national squads allows our players to train with the best in the country, improve their own performances and share the skills they have learnt here at college.

“We have our fingers crossed that they will be chosen and look forward to seeing them perform on a regional and national level.”