Sheffield United: ‘Scrap the Trophy now’ urges Blades boss

Caolan Lavery could start for Sheffield United against Grimsby Town. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Caolan Lavery could start for Sheffield United against Grimsby Town. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has again called upon the English Football League to scrap the Checkatrade Trophy.

Wilder, whose side will bow out of the tournament after tonight’s Northern Group H tie at Grimsby Town, insisted not even reviewing its controversial structure should prevent organisers pulling the plug.

“I’ve said it before and I and will say it again, I think three competitions are enough for any professional,” he told The Star. “Forty-six games is a hard enough slog with another two competitions. I think that is enough.

“I have been consistent and said that last year with my previous club. Maybe my attitude has rubbed off onto our players, so it has been a little bit difficult for the ones in the competition. But there you go.”

Wilder, a long-standing critic of the Trophy’s forerunner the JPT, made no apology for his hard-line stance ahead of United’s visit to Blundell Park.

Speaking after last month’s defeat by Walsall, which meant the South Yorkshire club could no longer qualify for the knockout phase, he poured scorn on the notion that allowing top-flight and Championship clubs to participate helped to develop young players.

Teenage goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale missed August’s meeting with Leicester City under-21’s after being selected to represent England at youth level. Together with fellow Young Lions Harry Chapman and Louis Reed, he will against be absent against Town.

United return to League One action at Chesterfield on Sunday and Wilder continued: “People know my view about the competition and we are going to make changes as we have a massive game coming up. We will already lose Rammers (Aaron Ramsdale) and Harry (Chapman), who would definitely have been involved. The same goes for Louis who is away on international duty as well. So he won’t be involved either.”

With Town also unable to progress, new manager Marcus Bignot could also be tempted to reshuffle his options ahead of Saturday’s League Two clash with Barnet.

United will travel to the Proact Stadium ranked fourth in the table and unbeaten in their last 11 league games.

“We will pick a side, but we have got a couple of injuries,” Wilder said. “But there is not anyway I will risk any of my players and I will be up front about that.”