It was a bold move by Uwe Rosler to ignore the Checkatrade Trophy rules and field a completely new team at Carlisle but one I wholeheartedly agree with.
The fixture pile-up has seen Town travel to Southport on Monday night in the FA Cup and after that ended all square Rosler’s men now face a replay next Tuesday – meaning Town will have played four games in eight days.
With a League One game at Port Vale and a chance to progress into the second round of the prestigious FA Cup on offer four days later it is completely understandable why Rosler scrapped the much derided Checkatrade Trophy’s five starters from the previous game quota at Carlisle to save his players.
Rosler said in his post match after the 4-2 defeat that the club has a duty to protect their players and that is why his decision to change the whole starting line-up from Monday’s 0-0 draw at Southport for a game ludicrously scheduled 48 hours later was the right one.
God forbid had he played Jimmy Ryan, Nathan Pond or any of the other starters at Haig Avenue and one of them end up picking up an injury that could rule them out for the season and end up costing the club way more than a potential £5,000 fine.
And the fact that one of Town’s only senior starters, Martyn Woolford, limped off eight minutes in proves that injury risk is real.
Rosler does not expect Town to be punished because of the scheduling but I expect they will be – but a fine is a small price to pay to protect Town’s first XI.
The Carlisle game also outlined the hypocrisy of letting Premier League and some Championship clubs field whatever players they desired for their ‘B teams’.
While the top sides get to see how their youngsters cope in real adult football and competitive action, clubs like Fleetwood, Sheffield United and Bradford City don’t get to give their young guns a chance to shine due to the ridiculous five-man quota.
I get why it is there – to ensure that the games are competitive – but the Carlisle game was a great chance for people to see how a host of Town’s development squad coped in stadium football.
Some like Elliot Osborne and Kieran Wallace showed they still have a way to go before breaking into the first team.
Other players like Oliver Roberts and Dion Charles showed they soon will be knocking on the door of the first XI just like Jack Sowerby.
The game was also another chance to see sub keeper Alex Cairns make a rare competitive appearance – despite the fact he let in four – and it was also a good setting for Aaron Amadi-Holloway to return to the starting XI after his return from a hamstring injury.
Those highlights prove this competition could prove a meaningful platform – but despite reaping the benefits of resting their senior players and giving young English talent a shot and a host of competitive debuts Town will be punished.