We’ve Won It Two Times

JPT

It looks like Stoke will be participating in this season’s Football League Trophy.

In a decision that may divide supporters, Stoke will field an U23 side in the competition against League One and Two opposition, as well as fellow U23 sides from the Premier League.

Stoke have a proud history in the tournament from their lower league days, winning at Wembley in 1992 and 2000, but this season’s participation is unlikely to set the pulses racing.

What it will do though is give our youngsters a taste of competitive football and, in theory, help progress them far more than playing in reserve/development leagues.

Stoke’s current youth side recently proved their credentials by picking up silverware during a seven-a-side tournament in Hong Kong and will hope to have similar success in the Football League Trophy.

The inclusion of U23 sides will expand the tournament to 64 teams and raises the potential of a Potteries Derby.

A Potteries Derby aside though, the crowds are unlikely to flock to the bet365 for these fixtures, but it will give us all a great opportunity to see how far the youngsters have developed in a competition that will be initially divided into a four team group format.

Of course the main hope is that the competition and experience allows one or two youngsters to break through into the first team, and with the likes of Dom Telford, Joel Taylor and Ollie Shenton all knocking on the door it could be a huge opportunity for the U23 squad.

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