Checkatrade Trophy: MK Dons boss Karl Robinson labels competition format 'rubbish'

Karl Robinson
MK Dons won the Football League Trophy in 2008, two years before Karl Robinson became manager

The current format of the Checkatrade Trophy is "rubbish", according to MK Dons manager Karl Robinson.

Sixteen sides with Category One academies are involved in 2016-17 but League One and Two teams must play a certain number of first-team players.

"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?" said Robinson.

In response, the EFL said it will "continue to assess the format".

An EFL spokesman said: "The revised format of the Checkatrade Trophy, which is a one-year pilot, is part of the EFL's long-term commitment to help the nation produce more and better homegrown players.

"It has also been designed to help reinvigorate the competition for the benefit of League One and Two clubs as it was widely felt that it had lost some of its purpose in previous seasons."

45,888 fans went to 32 matches in the opening round this season, at an average of 1,434, compared to 29,931 fans who went to 16 matches in the opening round last season, at an average of 1,871

Robinson's Dons face Peterborough in the group stage of the competition on Tuesday, and must have in their starting line-up the five highest appearance-makers in the team, five players who played the preceding fixture or five who play in the next league match.

Sides with Category One academies in the competition, such as Leicester and Chelsea, must start at least six players under the age of 21, but the rest of the squad can come from their first team if they choose.

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. 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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