Football League Trophy: MK Dons boss Karl Robinson brands Checkatrade Trophy format as 'rubbish'

Clubs from the third and fourth tiers must play a certain number of first-team players while 16 sides with Category One status academies, including those from the Premier League, are eligible

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The Independent Football

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson has branded the current Checkatrade Trophy format as “rubbish” as the League One outfit prepare for their second group match against Peterborough.

Clubs from the third and fourth tiers must play a certain number of first-team players while 16 sides with Category One status academies, including those from the Premier League, are eligible to take part for the first time. 

Labelled by the Football League as a “one-year pilot” the rules are designed to help English clubs produce more home-grown talent by affording them with opportunities against quality opposition. 

Robinson, however, has pointed out an unfairness in the system with smaller clubs being unable to play as many younger players as their more illustrious opponents from the Premier League and the Championship. 

Robinson told BBC Three Counties Radio: “I think the rules need to change drastically, or don't have the competition. I don't think it is conducive to development anymore. 

“How can we have a development trophy for Premier League teams who can do what they want, yet we can't develop our own players in it?

“I think it's rubbish. If they made this an open competition where we could all play our under-21s, play players to get fit, close half the stands, and make it more of a competition for development. 

“Don't make it just a development competition for Premier League teams when clubs like us work so hard to develop our own players.”

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