It may be a much derided competition but Grant McCann insists the Checkatrade Trophy can drive a team’s season.
The Doncaster Rovers boss has stated on several occasions that he is in it to win it when it comes to the Checkatrade Trophy this season.
And he says there is plenty of proof that success in the competition can help the primary goal of pushing up the league table.
“The two times I got there as a player, that was the case,” McCann said.
“At Scunthorpe we lost to Luton in the JP Trophy final as it was and went on to get promoted.
“We went back to Wembley knowing what it was like to get beat there and that stood us in good stead.
“When I went with Peterborough we won it and then got beat in the semi-final of the play-offs.
“It does give you that motivation to go back to a place like Wembley.
“I’ve no doubt that if we got to the final of this trophy there would be 20-30,000 Doncaster fans there.
“In the early part, the early rounds, people in general don’t seem to be too keen on it.
“But as it goes on, they come back.”
McCann has pledged to field a strong side when Rovers host Newcastle United U21s in their first group game of this season’s competition tonight at the Keepmoat (7pm).
McCann has backed the presence of U21 sides from Category 1 Academies – as long as they approach the Checkatrade Trophy in the spirit intended.
“I think it’s got bigger and better and they’ve brought other teams into it,” he said.
“I was really impressed with Chelsea last year when I watched their game with Lincoln on TV.
“They dealt with it, the long balls. Lincoln put the siren on at corners at Sincil Bank and the young lads dealt with it really well because it can be a bit of an intimidating place.
“It gives the boys a chance as long as they use it correctly.
“A few years ago at Peterborough we played a Norwich U21 team and they had about six or seven first team players in it.
“I think that’s when it becomes a bit of a farce.
“If they want to use it to put the young lads in and see if they’re good enough against league opposition players, then I think it’s brilliant.”