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Chance assess squad: Coley

18 September 2017

John Coleman is a big fan of the Checkatrade Trophy as it gives him a chance to assess his squad.

The Reds boss can make changes to his side – EFL clubs must include four qualifying players* in the 10 outfield players - as they take on Middlesbrough Under 21s tomorrow in the group stages of the competition.

The prices are £5 for adults and concessions and £1 for Under 12s at the Wham Stadium with kick off 7-30pm.

“For me this is a realistic chance to get to Wembley,” said Coleman. “We are one of only two clubs in the Football League who haven't been to Wembley and this is our chance to play there.

“It also gives our players who haven't played a lot of games a chance to get minutes under their belt. I am not one of these managers who subscribe to rotation so it's a chance for players to put themselves in the shop window for a place in the starting XI for league games.

“It gives them match fitness in a competitive game. We also want to win games as winning breeds confidence.”

Middlesbrough Under 21s are managed by former Stanley coach Paul Stephenson and Coleman knows what to expect from them.

“We watched them when they played at Blackburn Rovers recently so we know the style of football they play. We have had a look today at how we can combat that and how we can beat them.”

Qualifying players*

  • Had started the immediately preceding first team fixture
  • Subsequently starts the following first team fixture
  • Is in the list of 10 players at the club with the highest number of starting appearances in first team fixtures in the first season
  • Has made 40 or more starting appearances in first team fixtures
  • Is on a standard loan from a Premier League club or any EFL club operating a Category 1 Academy

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