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Gaffer on JPT clash

12 November 2014

Blades boss Nigel Clough has ruled making wholesale changes for Wednesday's Johnstone's Paint Trophy northern-area quarter-final at Walsall.

Clough made 11 changes to his team in the last round at Hartlepool United and despite winning the tie the Club were fined for not adhering to the competition rules, something the Gaffer is keen to avoid this time around.

He revealed: "We have got one or two with knocks, given it is a Wednesday night instead of a Tuesday we will have less preparation time for a big game at Doncaster on Saturday, so we'll assess them on Wednesday afternoon.

"We won't be falling foul of the competition rules though, at least six of the starting line-up at Crewe will start at Walsall.

"We got fined for making too many changes at Hartlepool, but it is a difficult one for the authorities as they look to get some standing within the competition and stop clubs making it demeaning.

"The problem is a lot of managers are working with smaller squads at this level and if you can get a team out from the 18 or 20 players most clubs have then that should be good enough.

"We have experienced players outside the 18 at the moment who would class themselves as first-team players, it is demeaning to them in some respects if a Club is getting fined for giving them some valuable game time."

On the opposition, Clough added: "They have struggled a bit more than expected this term, having been in and around the play-offs for much of last season, but Walsall are a good team on their day.

"Tom Bradshaw has scored most of the goals for them this season, he is a good finisher at this level.

"But they are a good footballing side in general who are at home and will fancy their chances.

"This competition isn't a priority for us, but we don't like losing games and we go there looking to win the tie and progress to the next round."

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