'Checkatrade games vital for development'
Cameron Toshack wants Swansea City Under-21s to challenge themselves when they face AFC Wimbledon in the Checkatrade Trophy at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday (7.45pm).
The young Swans are hoping for a positive performance against League One opponents following a disappointing defeat against Stevenage in their opening game of Southern Group G.
Following two successful campaigns in the Checkatrade trophy, Toshack says that the competition provides invaluable experience for young players as they aim to gain first-team experience against senior Football League sides.
“I think in the last two years we’ve really utilised this competition,” he said.
“It has allowed the squad of players we’ve had at the club, the first and second-year pros, to prove that they can play at League One and League Two levels.
“It’s great that some of those boys who experienced Checkatrade games against league opposition have since stepped up into our first-team squad.”
The development squad has helped prepare the likes of Joe Rodon, Connor Roberts and Oli McBurnie for the first-team set-up in recent years.
Toshack and fellow coach Gary Richards are hoping to see member of the current squad progressing to the Swans' senior side.
And while Toshack is going into tomorrow’s game with an open mind, he insists an improved performance is the prime target for the Swans.
“What we’ve got at this football club is a very good academy,” he continued. “We’ve got a good environment here, with the under-23s from the past two years now being very close to the first team.
“As with Joe Rodon and Connor Roberts, who both got thrown in at the deep end at stages of their development, the hope is that these players can learn from this type of game and they use that experience to move forward.
“Even if you feel like you’re throwing them in at the deep end, they’re getting an opportunity to test themselves.
“It’s going to be a real challenge, but we’re not too focused on the score.
“If I’m a young centre-forward and I’m playing against a League One centre-half, I want to find out where the gap is. What was I good at? What did I struggle with? That’s pretty much what we’re asking of our players in these games.”
Tickets will be available to buy in the main foyer entrance from 6.15pm on the night priced at £10 for Adults/Concessions and £5 for under-18s.
All fans coming to the game will be seated in the main stand with home fans in Blocks A to H and away fans in Blocks J to M.