Phil Parkinson has previewed tonight’s clash against Joey Barton’s Fleetwood Town with us already qualified to the knock-out stages of the Papa John’s Trophy. He updated fans on injury news and hinted at the chance of a chance for some of the youth players.
"I don't want to let the disappointment of the weekend to affect the plans for this week - I think that's important, our plans this week are to give some of our U23 players an opportunity tomorrow and there are three reasons for that. First of all, they deserve it after their recent results for the U23s. Secondly it gives us a chance to assess them playing at first-team level, which is good for the club and for everyone in the academy. Thirdly, of course, we are through to the knockout stages of this competition already. Realistically, that Tuesday game, our thoughts at the moment are that because we've already qualified, and because a lot of the lads have done well in the U23s, we need to see if they can make that next step up. There are players we want to give that opportunity to against Fleetwood because I don't think there's a better time to do it. We've said all along that the idea of the U23s this year was to strengthen that team, but have players who felt could step in for us when required. Josh Hawkes is one of those. He's played at National League level, done well, got goals. The (selection) rules are quite forgiving, we've looked at those and players like Jack Diamond and Elliot Embleton count as senior players, there will be a couple of first-teamers involved, but the rest of the starting 11 and the bench will all be young lads. In the second part of the week, the plan is to get the injured players back as close to selection as possible, and to give the other players who were rested at the weekend a good week's training so we are ready for the MK Dons game, Luke O’Nien, Lynden Gooch, and Denver Hume all missed out at the weekend and none of those three trained on Monday. Josh Scowen had to sit out the FA Cup game because of the concussion protocol. He was back training on Monday, but he won't play on Tuesday night because he's had to miss some training. Fleetwood and ourselves are both in the same position, we have both qualified and this game will just decide who finishes top of the group and therefore who will be drawn at home in the next round. We got the job done in the first two games, and that means that we are able to use this game to take a look at some of the lads from the academy and I'm looking forward to that. The important thing is that we get the build-up right for the game on Saturday, and get the strongest team out that we can bearing in mind the injuries we have and the fact that we have a couple of players away on international duty."