Robbo blasts 'rubbish' Checkatrade Trophy

Karl Robinson
Karl Robinson

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson has called for the rules to change as he is forced to play five first team players in the Checkatrade Trophy against Peterborough on Tuesday night.

The former Johnstone's Paint Trophy, which Dons won in 2008, changed format this season to allow for Category 1 academies to develop their players in the competition, which previously had been limited to just clubs in League 1 and League 2.

Keith Andrews lifted the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2008

Keith Andrews lifted the Johnstone's Paint Trophy in 2008

But while the bigger clubs can field a team of youth team players, teams in the third and fourth tiers must still play recognised members of their first teams.

Fans, by and large, have shown their displeasure towards the competition with significantly depleted attendances for the first round of fixtures, but for Robinson, the sense of bias towards the bigger clubs is a topic of frustration.

"I think it's rubbish," he said. "I think the rules need to change drastically, or don't have the competition. I don't think it is conducive to developing players.

"How can we have a development trophy for top flight teams who can do what they want, but I can't develop my own youth players? They're helping out the big boys again in our cup competition. And they've changed it to U21s to help them as well. They can play who they want, to my knowledge. It doesn't make sense. The rules don't develop my players. Someone needs to look at it. It's just a development league for the top sides.

"The competition has been devalued, and this doesn't help the EFL. If it's a development competition, make it a development competition right across the board. Peterborough got beaten 7-0 by Norwich City with Josh and Jacob Murphy playing.

"Some managers won't even be going to the games. But I've got to be there to make sure we've got a fully fit squad for Sunday.

"I'm not disrespecting the people who came up with this idea - when I first read it, I was quite excited but I was under the illusion it would be the likes of Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City - but I don't think they've entered it. There are some big clubs but it's not the top, top sides.

"Something has to change, I think. I think the board will have a really good look at it in the summer. It'll be a good trial, and they had to try it to see if it worked. If it's a monetary thing, we have to take it on the chin."

And even though Dons travel to London Road to take on rivals Peterborough tomorrow night (Tuesday), Robinson doesn't expect the same levels of competition as there will be when the pair meet in the league in January.

He said: "I was playing football golf with Grant McCann when the draw was made and we both looked at each other and said 'oh great...!'

"It's always nice to go to Peterborough and try and win, but I'm more concerned with Sunday. I'm going to Peterborough to try something for Sunday. I don't want to lie to the fans. Dean Lewington, Darren Potter and David Martin won't even travel, Ryan Colclough and Nicky Maynard might not even be in the squad.

"This is a competition we've won, so it's a part of our history. And we go through if we win tomorrow night too. But I'm only concentrating on Sunday."