Brian Barry-Murphy has confirmed he will play a number of young players in Dale’s Leasing.com Trophy opener on Wednesday night.
Manchester City Under-21s are the visitors to the Crown Oil Arena, as both sides begin their Northern Group F campaign.
The Dale boss says the competition is one that has allowed the Club’s younger players to establish themselves in the first team in recent years, something he wants to continue.
“It’s been a great tournament for us over the last couple of years, in terms of integrating some of our younger players, coupled with the more experienced members of the squad,” said Barry-Murphy.
“It’s very much a process that I’m keen to continue and enhance. It’s served us exceptionally well in terms of our players, and nurturing those players into prominent first team members, so I don’t see any reason to change that process really.
“We’ve used it [the competition] for the benefit of our whole Club over past years. Even though we’ve had some tough results in the competition, I feel as though it’s a great competition for our younger players to establish themselves in our first team squad, and enhance their development at a rate of knots.
“The results, in that facet, have been fantastic for ourselves, and that’s something we’re very keen to continue. Some members of the team will be younger ones, blended in with the experienced and established players that we’ve always had, and I think that’s extremely beneficial to all parties.
“The atmosphere at these games is different from other games, in terms of everyone being in the Main Stand and it does create a good atmosphere. The games last year were very good I felt.
“I think it’s a chance for the supporters to see some members of our squad and Club that they wouldn’t have seen before, couple in with other members of the squad. It can be extremely exciting in ways that different to normal circumstances.”
It is Dale’s first competitive game since the 3-0 win at Southend United 11 days ago, but Barry-Murphy was pleased with the timing of the break.
“It’s been very beneficial. The lads put an awful lot of effort into the first phase of the season, so it came at a good time for us in terms of getting the lads some rest and recovery.
“It’s enabled us to get into great physical condition for the next period of games which are coming thick and fast, starting against Manchester City Under-21s.”
The Dale boss has also offered an injury update.
“We’ve got some guys on the way back. Aaron Wilbraham is very close to returning from his calf problem, so I think he’s a week to ten days away from re-joining the squad. We’re very hopeful that he’ll be fit sooner rather than later.
“We have an issue with Tyler Magloire who got injured in training and he’s back at his parent club being assessed, but the news isn’t good. We think he’s going to be out for an extended period of time. How long that period of time is, I’m not sure yet.
“I’m hopeful more than confident to be honest, because it seemed quite a bad injury to his groin, so we await news. He won’t be available for this game or for the next few games, so he’s a major loss to us.
“It affects us at a time when we become slightly stretched in that department of our team, because Ryan Delaney has obviously gone to AFC Wimbledon for other reasons.
“But it’s something we’ve planned and prepared for, so it’s an exciting challenge for us to find a solution for within our own players.”
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