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Preview: Neal urges players to earn a starting spot

Manager on tonight's Checkatrade Trophy match

18 September 2018

Neal Ardley said that tonight's match is an opportunity for players selected to keep their places for the League One match at Accrington Stanley on Saturday.

The manager was far from happy with the manner of defeat against Scunthorpe on Saturday and he wants players to stake their claims for selection by producing a positive performance against Swansea Under-21s.

"It is a chance for whoever gets in the team to tell me that they want to be picked," said Neal. "Anyone selected is playing to see if they can get into the team for Saturday's game. There are too many people making the same mistakes. People need to step-up and do their bit. You can say everyone is allowed to make mistakes, they are, and that's football, but we are making mistakes and it's a goal from them. We need to work on them on the training field and we need to be ruthless with our team selection. You need to earn your place in this team."

An encouraging performance at The Valley in Wimbledon's Checkatrade Trophy opener earlier this month helped spark a much-needed league win at Gillingham. The penalty shoot-out victory against Charlton earned two points for Wimbledon after a 2-2 draw and victory tonight would edge the Dons closer to making the knockout stages.

Swansea Under-21s were beaten 5-0 in their opening match by Stevenage and they need a win tonight to keep alive their hopes of progressing from the group.

Swans coach Cameron Toshack: "We've spoken to the players and it's all about them recognising their individual challenges on the pitch as well as the collective challenges. The more individual match-ups we can win on the pitch, the better the collective will do."

A summary of player eligibility for EFL clubs in the Checkatrade Trophy is below:

• A club can play any goalkeeper in the competition;
• The revised requirement of Rule 7.3 – '4 qualifying outfield Players from 10'.
A qualifying outfield player would be:
Any player that meets the current criteria (excluding goalkeepers), includes those who:
• Have started the previous or following first team fixture.
• Are in the top 10 players at the club for starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions for the current season.
• Have made 40 or more first team appearances in their career.
• Are on loan from either a Premier League or Category 1 academy club.

For the full list of rules and regulations about the competition, visit the EFL website.


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