Fleetwood chief appeals for Trophy rethink

Andy Pilley
Andy Pilley
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Fleetwood owner Andy Pilley has called for a mass discussion on the future of the controversial Checkatrade Trophy.

Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley has called for a mass discussion on the future of the controversial Checkatrade Trophy.

Pilley is not impressed that five of the Town side that drew 0-0 at Southport in the FA Cup on Monday night must play again tonight in their final Checkatrade Trophy group game at Carlisle.

Pilley says it is far from ideal given that Town head to Port Vale for a League One clash on Saturday before a fourth game in nine days next Tuesdsay, when they host Southport in their FA Cup first round replay.

And the Town owner believes poor attendances – only 392 saw Fleetwood beat Blackburn Under-21s at Highbury in August – show that the public are not interested in the competition.

Pilley said: “I’d like some concrete proposals from the powers that be and I think we can discuss it, get round the table and pool our ideas on what the future should look like.

“I don’t think it works in the current format and I’m certainly hoping for a proposal as to how it should be in the future.

“Being brutally honest, I struggle to get excited about it because we got to the Northern Final last year and that is the only time you start to get any interest from supporters.

“I hear lots of stories about the whole game solution, about how we play too many night games and about how we need to reduce the number of fixtures.

“This is a competition that the public are clearly not particularly interested in.

“We have tried to revamp it by bringing in B teams and the gates have gone down, so I share that (the public’s) emotion – I struggle to get excited about it.

“I think it is an opportunity for development players and for players on the fringe to demonstrate to the manager that they are worthy of being in the team.

“But I think the rules should be relaxed because the rules are not consistent. The B teams are permitted to play pretty much whoever they want. They will play their fringe teams and they will use it for exactly that reason. We don’t have that opportunity.

“We had a really important FA Cup game on Monday and we will be expected to play five of our players who played on Monday against Carlisle.

“That is not good preparation for a trip to Port Vale on Saturday, so I’m not impressed to be honest.”

Fleetwood will win through to the knockout stages of the Checkatrade Trophy if they beat Carlisle tonight.