Leasing.com Trophy: 'Ask EFL teams if they want to play', says Plymouth boss Ryan Lowe

Ryan Lowe
Ryan Lowe became Plymouth Argyle manager in the summer after leaving Bury

English Football League teams should field full-strength sides in the Leasing.com Trophy or be given the option to opt out of the competition, says Plymouth manager Ryan Lowe.

The Pilgrims were knocked out after a much-changed Swindon Town XI lost to Bristol Rovers on Wednesday.

"They've asked the Premier League teams 'do they want to come in?'" said Lowe.

"I think they should ask the Football League clubs 'do they want to go out?' and see where it goes from there."

The tournament, formerly the EFL Trophy, was revamped in 2016 with Premier League and Championship sides with Category A academies given the option to enter a youth side into the group stages alongside League One and League Two clubs.

Lowe added: "I think you should be only in it if you want to win it and there's certainly clubs in it that don't want to win it, or don't want to get past the group stages."

Competition rules say clubs must include four 'qualifying players' in their outfield 10.

Those players must have either made 40 senior appearances in their career, played in the previous first-team game, play in the next game, be one of the club's top 10 appearance-makers in the current season or be on loan from a Premier League or EFL side with a top-category academy.

Swindon made nine changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Cheltenham Town in the FA Cup and 10 changes from their last league game, but they were within the rules as they had more than four players who have played more than 40 games, as well as two that had started the last match.

Clubs can face a fine of up to £5,000 if they do not play a qualifying side.

"We fulfilled our games with good squads and good players, and players that have played in the following games," added Lowe, who took Bury to the semi-finals of the competition last season.

"I think there needs to be drawing of the line in that department because teams aren't playing full-strength teams."

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