Brian Barry-Murphy says the EFL Trophy has been amazing for the Club when it comes to bringing through young players.
Dale face Manchester United Under-21s in their second group stage game on Tuesday night, a game the boss thinks will be a great challenge.
“It’s one of the most exciting competitions we’ve been in, in terms of being able to bring through our young players,” said Barry-Murphy.
“Against Morecambe, it was a tough game against a physical team. Manchester United will probably be a slightly different team, in terms of the age bracket and, no disrespect to Morecambe, probably a higher quality of technical player. That will be a great challenge for us.
“The problem for us at the moment is that we’re very stretched in terms of who is available and who isn’t, whilst trying to protect the guys who we think are vulnerable.
“As I said last week, that’s a constant challenge for us because of the structure of this season.
“It’s no good complaining about it, we have to deal with it as best we can and find ways of being as competitive as we can whilst not risking anybody.
“We’ve had amazing results in this competition in terms of the players we’ve brought through. The likes of Luke Matheson started his journey in this competition, so it’s very important to us and we’re very glad that it is still intact this season.
“We saw Ethan and Fabio come on today, and the positive work that they have done in the EFL Trophy means they are ready to play in the league now. It’s just about putting them in at the right moments in terms of the league, but the EFL Trophy games will be critical for their development.”