Paul Tisdale admitted his MK Dons squad is larger than he had planned and he is still running the rule over some of them.
Citing the Checkatrade Trophy as the perfect arena to judge his fringe players, Tisdale made eight changes in the 3-0 defeat to League 1 Luton Town on Tuesday night.
Goals from Alan Sheehan, Kazenga LuaLua and Jorge Grant completed the win for the Hatters, who will win Group H as a result, though Tisdale said it was an important night for his side despite the scoreline.
"I'd love to go through to have more of an opportunity to see more of them," he said. "We've got a large squad at present, bigger than maybe we would ordinarily keep, but that's the circumstance.
"This is a useful opportunity in a game with some bite, some spark, to play. It's not a reserve game, it';s a meaningful game for both sides. In terms of me learning, and players on the fringes having a chance to play, it's a really good competition. Once you're through the groups, it changes completely when there's a possibility of Wembley."
"Generally, I thought we did really well. We showed a lot of intent and purpose in the second half, but one or two bits of naïve defending cost us. That's what this competition is about, playing some of the young emerging players and they need to learn those details. It was a good learning curve for a few today. We were unlucky not to score a goal, but I'm relatively happy with how we played, not the scoreline of course, but we've learned some lessons for sure.
"It's gives me context as a manager. The young players dazzle at times, but they have to learn the nuts and bolts which tie them together. If we're looking at young players becoming selectable, these are the nights they learn their lessons and put things together. Both goals in the first half were goal I;d have been very disappointed with on a Saturday from a first team player.
"In the second half, we made changes and I asked for more intent and chances, and we raised our game significantly. We could have made it 2-1 in early in the second half."
Luton declared an attendance of just 875 - their lowest ever attendance despite it appearing significantly more inside Kenilworth Road - on a night which cost fans £18 to watch the game. With more than 200 attending from Milton Keynes, Tisdale thanked them for their efforts on the night too.
"I'm so pleased we had numbers travelling, it was very expensive for them. I'm glad we had a bit of intent about us in the second half to show this was a game we wanted to win."