Exeter City face West Ham Under 21s this evening, but Matt Taylor is keen to manage the squad as he looks for a promotion push in League One.
Exeter are second in the League Two table, three points behind the leaders Lincoln City, but Taylor has a conundrum on his hands as he selects for the cup game.
He’s clear he wants to win the game, but has one eye on a promotion charge in which he’d ideally avoid the play offs, having seen the side fall twice at that stage in successive seasons.
“I want to win that game on Tuesday, but I have to start looking after the group,” Taylor said. “I have to be cute on Tuesday. I have to use my squad wisely, but whatever team I put out I am going to put them out to try to win the game.”
“We will make changes, but it is a rule to keep the competition competitive I suppose and give it the respect it deserves, which we will do.”
Taylor is aware that a severely weakened side does risk a fine, as competition rules stipulate that an EFL club must play four qualifying players in its outfield team.
“We always do, we won’t pay the fine and we will play as many players as we possibly can, but players need to get into their rhythm as well. It might be fitness on Tuesday, in terms of an extra game or a certain amount of minutes, but we need to keep working.”
The Checkatrade Trophy does represent an opportunity to use the whole squad, but there has to be one eye on the league as well.
The rules are fairly lax though, a qualifying player must either start the prior game, or the following fixture.
They can also be in the list of top ten appearance makers this season, have made 40 or more first team career appearances, or is on loan from a Category A club.
No pressure really at all.