Rochdale start their Checkatrade Trophy campaign on Tuesday night, hosting Sunderland in the first group stage game of the newly-formatted competition.
With Dale playing a week later than the majority of other teams, Manager Keith Hill has watched on with interest as the competition kicked-off last week.
“When I did my homework on the Checkatrade Trophy, I noticed that the under-23 sides were fielding senior players in their starting line-up," said Hill.
“There’s definitely a bit of conundrum going on here. These Academy sides want to show the EFL that they are more than worthy of competing in the league but they’ve been a little bit clever with it.
“It was interesting looking at the results and the teams that were put out by the Category 1 clubs. I am aware that some of them played the 18s, 19s, 21s, but then you had the likes of Stoke playing Charlie Adam.”
Rochdale were drawn in Northern Group F and will also face Hartlepool and Notts County during the group stage of the competition.
“It’s a trophy we want to be successful in. We want to do well and the league format provides an opportunity for players to get blooded and get game time, but to also win football matches.
“We’re down on numbers – we had a few casualties before Saturday’s game and we got one or two more at the weekend, so it’s about me collecting everybody who is fit, ready and available.”
Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth and Exeter City’s Paul Tisdale named themselves on the bench in their respective opening group stage fixtures, but Hill has ruled against registering himself as a
“It’s too good an opportunity not to give a younger player a chance to play. You don’t know if that younger player will fit in straight away - sometimes it takes players years, other times it takes them five minutes of a game and you think, wow – he belongs out there.
“I won’t deny someone that opportunity.”