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