Chesterfield have their say on the 2017/18 Checkatrade Trophy format

Chesterfield FC v Accrington Stanley,
Chesterfield FC v Accrington Stanley,
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Have your say

Chesterfield have voted for a return to a straight knockout format for the Checkatrade Trophy.

And the 2011/12 Trophy winners have voted against the inclusion of the 16 ‘invited’ clubs from the Premier League or Championship.

Football League clubs were invited to have their say on the future of the competition, which came in for a lot of criticism last season and saw a number of low attendances in the group stages.

Just 951 turned up at the Proact to watch Chesterfield take on one of the invited clubs – Wolverhampton Wanderers, who fielded their Under 23s.

Then-Chesterfield boss Danny Wilson was critical of the fact that League One and Two clubs faced fines if they opted to play a vastly different team from their last competitive match.

And current Spireites manager Gary Caldwell, although a believer in the benefit to the English game of last season’s format, also felt it odd that clubs like his were restricted in terms of team selection.

He said: “If you are going to invite Under 23 players then every team should be able to play whatever player they want.

“How you can make league teams play certain players yet the Under 23s can play whoever they like seems a bit strange.

“Surely Chesterfield can play an Under 23 team should we wish to do that?”

Clubs could vote for a 48-team straight knockout competition, a 48-team format with group stage followed by knockout rounds or a 64-team format to include 16 invited clubs.

Another option was to simply abolish the tournament.

Club director Ashley Carson believes fans still value the competition, in its previous guise.

“People like the competition, they didn’t like the format, “he said.

“There were too many games.

“We voted for it to go back to how it was.

“Although it was an EFL team (Coventry City) that won, I still think it was a failure, witnessed by poor attendances – fans voted with their feet.”