North West clubs are gearing up for this year's Asian Image Cup which this year will be held at the Blackburn Rovers Youth Academy.

Club representatives joined organisers at the official draw held at the Shahi Qila Restaurant in Blackburn.

The tournament which will be held at the Blackburn Rovers Youth Academy Complex in Brockhall on the bank holiday weekend of Saturday May 3-5.

In what is being billed as the game of the round' holders Asia of Rochdale were drawn against Preston's Canaries.

Last year's finalists Blackburn United were pitted against Fishwick Rangers.

New boys Shah Jalal Unity will face another club making its debut in the tournament - Moghuls of Lancaster.

Oldham's Coppice United will face Nelson's Paak United in the fourth game.

The draw was made by Suleman Hafeji of Canaries who broke his leg earlier this season and is set to sit out the tournament for the first time in several years.

Invited clubs will be permitted to include players of all ethnicity and backgrounds.

Asian Image editor Shuiab Khan said, "It is encouraging to see that many of the clubs that tended to be made up of just Asian players, say ten years ago, now include players of all backgrounds.

"Some clubs include players from Iraq, Turkey and Poland making the tournament a real mix of all cultures.

"I think it was important for a tournament like this not to be exclusive just to Asian players and encourage people from all backgrounds to participate."

The state-of-the-art Blackburn Rovers Youth Academy is one of the most modern football academies of its kind in the world.

The £4.75 million facility was built for the cream of Rovers' youth talent over seven years ago and includes five full-sized pitches, indoor training facilities, a swimming pool and accommodation for 36 players A spokesman for Blackburn Rovers said, "In line with the Club's strategy to forge closer ties with our local community, Blackburn Rovers are glad to be hosting the Asian Image Cup at the Blackburn Rovers Academy and we would like to wish all participating teams the very best"

Iqbal Bhai, chairman of Blackburn United said, "It is a wonderful gesture from Blackburn Rovers.

"The tournament will help to highlight the growing talent from within community.

"Already the majority of the players taking part are of a young age and as a club we will be continuing to put forward some of our emerging talents at this tournament."

Junaid Kalang of Canaries said, "The players will be delighted to play at such a venue.

"It is great for Blackburn Rovers to show their commitment to the community in this way,"

Saeed Ahmed of holders Asia added, "The North West has been crying out for a competition that houses the best talent from within the community.

"Those that play week in week out in their respective leagues don't often have a platform in which to show their footballing abilities off at this level.

"Asia have played in many of the North West Championship Competitions and we will be proud to defend the title as the best team in the North West of 2007."