Their respective seasons were brought to an abrupt conclusion in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and a return to Rockliffe is the first step towards the start of the 2020/21 campaign.

The players worked remotely with the Academy fitness coaches during the lockdown period with Zoom technical and physical sessions, department seminars, cooking, physical and skills challenges all on the agenda to maintain contact and interaction.

But now they can return to the training pitches once again, commencing with phase one of the return to training protocol which will see the youngsters working individually and in small groups for the first week, complying with social distancing guidelines.

“We’ve been working towards our U18s and U23s coming back in for some weeks now,” explained the club’s Academy manager Craig Liddle.

“A lot of hard work was done during lockdown to work with the boys in different ways, but clearly there is nothing like being able to get people back on to the pitches and work at the training ground.

“We will be working within the guidelines and are it’s a very similar situation to the return to training protocols that the first team had when they came back at the end of May.”

The new intake of scholars will be among the new faces at Rockliffe this weekend while summer signing Cole Kiernan and will also join the U23s group for the first time.

The fixtures are expected to be released in due course while any pre-season fixtures will be limited to playing Premier League opposition in behind-closed-doors games.

The Academy are also working on a potential return date for the younger age groups (U9s-U16s) and will be contacting parents in due course.