While the EFL Trophy, or the Leasing.com Trophy to give its official name, may be seen by some as a waste of time, Bolton boss Keith Hill feels quite the opposite about the competition.
Speaking to The Bolton News, Keith Hill said that “I love the competition” and given Bolton’s current situation, it’s easy to see why.
Hill continued: “There was a time in my management career when I didn’t particularly like it, but I have used it well to integrate young players, use it as a development tool” and that’s something that can be a vital asset to Bolton with League One fixtures coming thick and fast.
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Due to the unique situation Bolton Wanderers finds itself in, Keith Hill and his new squad of players, were never given a pre-season together and have, therefore, lacked some of the fitness and cohesion of their opponents.
However, the upcoming EFL Trophy games against Rochdale and Manchester City’s under 21s offer up a useful opportunity for the new Bolton manager to experiment with his team selection, give opportunities to the club’s up and coming talent and continue to build match fitness in the squad, almost treating them as friendly matches.
Plus, a positive result against Rochdale could be the springboard to greater things as the season progresses with Wanderers’ need for points growing more with each passing game.
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While EFL Trophy matches may seem like frustrating obstacles for many managers, it’s fascinating to see Keith Hill embrace the competition and look to exploit every benefit he can.
The new manager’s approach, both on and off the pitch, has been particularly interesting to witness especially as it’s such a far cry from his predecessor Phil Parkinson.
Whether Wanderers can earn themselves a positive result against Rochdale after the 5-2 hammering in the League Cup earlier this season remains to be seen but given the fact that Hill is keen to exploit the competition should make for an interesting prospect nonetheless.