The EFL Trophy has had its fair share of detractors – especially since the introduction of Premier League U21 teams – but Charlton assistant coach Scott Marshall has is not one of them.
The Addicks play in the competition on Wednesday night as they face Gillingham at The Valley.
The follow up with a tie at Colchester at the start of October before a final group game at home to Brighton U21s on November 2.
Marshall, who has had spells in development coaching at Norwich City and Reading, said: “I’m a fan of the competition. I like the competition. There are many sides to it, in terms of players getting minutes and young players getting opportunities. That’s the bigger picture of it all. With the U21 teams in there, as a former U21 coach I know how much we look forward to these games and giving some senior football to young players. It’s a vital step in their development process.
“When you throw in there is a Wembley final then it has got to be taken seriously and we want to progress a little bit.”
Charlton drew 1-1 at Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday and have taken nine points from their opening six League One fixtures.
“Wycombe have a competitive group and it’s always a fierce game there, so any team that comes away with something from that environment will be happy,” said Marshall. “But, at the same time, we had some big moments in the game and were quite in control in the second half.
“We’re happy with the progress and to come away slightly disappointed is a good sign.
“It’s been an intense start, I think tomorrow night is our ninth game is just over a month. It’s a huge ask for anyone physically to play at that level for that run of games. It’s also a good situation for players to get minutes as well.”
Marshall was unable to provide any more detail on the injury which forced Ryan Inniss off at the weekend.
“We’re hoping it’s not too bad,” he said. “The signs are that it won’t keep him out too long.”
MAIN PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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