Sarll ‘understands’ fans staying away from Checkatrade Trophy but also wants the chance to blood younger players

Stevenage manager Darren Sarll during Stevenage vs Southend United, Photo: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Stevenage manager Darren Sarll during Stevenage vs Southend United, Photo: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo - Credit: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo

Darren Sarll says he understands why fans decided not to attend the Checkatrade Trophy win over Southend United this week.

Just 559 turned up for Boro’s 4-0 win against Phil Brown’s side, and up and down the country crowd sizes in the competition have been dwindling as fans show their displeasure at U23 sides from the Premier League and Championship being allowed to enter the competition.

While Sarll was pleased with the way in which his side applied themselves against Southend, he does think that rules restricting EFL clubs to how many first team players they must field is something competition organisers could look at in future.

“It was pleasing to score so many goals against a very good side and a manager I’ve got a lot of respect for and someone who has given me a lot of time since I’ve been a manager,” Sarll said this morning.

“I completely understand [the fans]. Would we like more people there? Of course we would.

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“We’re not a separate movement here, this is nationwide. All of these people can’t be wrong. If it was one or two clubs chucking their dummies out then maybe we could point the finger at isolated incidents, but it’s happening nationwide.”

Asked whether organisers should have a rethink, Sarll added: “The Premier League and the Football League will do what they want and they’ll, I’m guessing, do what they think is right and best for English football.

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“The crazy thing is that for example we played Brighton and this has happened on numerous occasions, and I’ll talk about our own [games], and they had six first team players play. That’s taking six U23 positions. That’s not developing players for the future; it’s developing half a team.

“It’s going to be the same outcome whichever way [the organisers] do it and if they are going to go down the [same] route then let us play out kiddiewinks, our young lads. Let us play without restriction.

“I’ve really wanted to get Mark McKee in the side, Luke Slater and Nathan Kerr. If it’s going to be renowned for that let’s make it renowned for [improving younger players].”

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