Carlisle Utd chief says cash from controversial trophy has been "ringfenced" to give youth players a chance

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Carlisle United say they are using proceeds from the controversial Checkatrade Trophy to give some of their young prospects a chance.

Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said the club have ringfenced cash from the hotly-debated competition to fund "development" contracts for some of last season's youth players.

The Blues handed the professional terms to four of their second year youth players - Cameron Salkeld, Jordan Holt, Jack Egan and Morgan Bacon.

They will attempt to force their way into Keith Curle's first-team squad next season.

United's boss recently said the addition of the four teenagers was not coming out of his own first-team budget.

And Clibbens told the News & Star that the Checkatrade money was to be used for that purpose.

The competition has faced heavy criticism for its involvement of Under-23 or "B" teams from the top two divisions.

Carlisle also attracted criticism for voting in favour of allowing those sides to continue in the trophy for a further two seasons, against the wishes of 98 per cent of fans in a survey.

Clibbens said: "We've ringfenced that money, and this was part of our decision-making around the Checkatrade Trophy.

"We knew there was a guaranteed element that comes with it, which is what we voted for, and we felt we would use it to give these young guys a chance.

"We think, from a competition that has attracted a lot of criticism, that it's a good way of using something from it for some good."

EFL clubs recently voted in favour of two more years of Under-23 sides in the competition after extra prize money was added and some rules were changed.

The competition, won by Coventry, last season drew some historically low crowds for early-round ties across the country as many lower-league supporters boycotted.

Carlisle's second round game against Mansfield attracted just 1,126 - the fourth lowest crowd for a first-team game at Brunton Park.

Next season's Trophy will get under way in the week starting August 28.

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