AFC Bournemouth academy manager Joe Roach has defended the Football League’s decision to allow Premier League academy sides to enter the Football League Trophy.
Next season as part of a one year trial, the 16 category one academy sides will enter the competition alongside League One and League Two clubs.
AFC Bournemouth have a category three academy and thus will not be involved.
A new format for the competition will see 16 regionalised groups of four teams, all playing each other before the top two in each group progress to the knock out stages which will see a second round, third round, quarter-final, semi-final and the final at Wembley.
The idea is to give Under 21 players more competitive games, something that Roach believes is a good idea.
Roach told the Daily Echo…
‘…if you’re looking at longevity of systems to bring players into the professional game, there has to be a way to bring youngsters through.
‘There have been lots of different suggestions, including letting Premier League reserve teams playing in the Football League in the same way they do in Spain.
‘Whatever the solution is, you need to provide competitive games for these young players to give them an opportunity, to see them in that stadium environment.
‘As things are, a lot of under-21 matches are played away from first-team grounds, meaning the players get very little exposure to any kind of atmosphere. Entrance to this competition can give them that.’
It would be a shame if the final comprised two Premier league academy teams. This cup always gave two lower league teams a trip to Wembley. – Join the conversation here.
It’s easy to join AFCB Vital