Steve Stone: Young Clarets must handle the pressure in cup final against rivals Blackburn Rovers

Burnley Under 23s coach Steve Stone
Burnley Under 23s coach Steve Stone
Share this article

Burnley Under 23s coach Steve Stone is urging his players to keep their emotions in check when they take on arch rivals Blackburn Rovers in the Lancashire FA Senior Cup final.

The Clarets take on Damien Johnson's side in the competition's 121st showpiece at the LFA's County Ground in Leyland on Tuesday, which kicks off at 7 p.m.

Stone, a former England international, experienced a number of derbies during his time with Aston Villa and Portsmouth, and understands the passion involved in these types of rivalries.

But the 47-year-old doesn't want that spirit to boil over. "I played in Portsmouth/Southampton. People up here are probably thinking that's nothing because they're miles away from it, there was real hatred between the two clubs.

"There were some awful scenes outside, which I hope I never see again. That made me understand the rivalry between two clubs. It was passionate, it was feisty and this will be no different.

"You can hype them too much. I've tried to do it to an extent where they really want to go at it. There's also the fact that they've never been in this situation before.

"Emotionally you can go over the top physically, verbally, the whole thing, you can lose control. That's an experience they'll have to get used to.

"Some will get it right, some will get it wrong, but I'll try and keep their emotions balanced right before the game. We'll realise the importance of the game."

The Clarets will be the underdogs going in to the tie, facing a Category One outfit that has beaten Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs in the latest rounds of the Premier League 2 term.

However, should they defy the odds, Stone knows it will be an achievement that lives with them forever having won the Nottinghamshire equivalent of this cup with Forest.

"They're a good side, they're a Category One club," he said. "In terms of their academy they're a good few years ahead of us. We aspire to be something like that in the not-to-distant future.

"I won this competition for the Nottinghamshire FA back in the day, I think it was against Notts County. I still remember it and that was 30-odd years ago.

"I still remember that we won that competition. It's something that will live forever in their memories. Winning any trophy at any level is important."