Fulham's Academy Director Huw Jennings has admitted he's a big fan of having U21 sides in the Checkatrade Trophy ahead of the final on at Wembley on Sunday.
The Craven Cottage outfit entered a side for the first time this season but crashed out of the competition at the group stages, having managed a win against Crawley Town, a draw against Portsmouth and a loss against Charlton.
U21 sides entering the competition has been met with animosity from some sides in the competition, which used to be only open to sides from League One and Two, while some clubs have welcomed the addition of U21 teams with open arms.
Jennings believes that the experiences the competition has afforded the youngsters in the U21 side will help them in their future careers - something that they may not get playing reserve football.
He told Get West London: “Yes, I’m a big fan it has to be said.
“I’ve worked for a League One club so I know why some clubs will be a bit negative towards it, interestingly enough the three clubs we played, Charlton, Portsmouth and Crawley all had different views about the competition.
“Crawley were really massively in favour of it, Portsmouth were dead against it and Charlton were a bit in between.
“With anything new, it will bring controversy, but what I can say to you is that in their different ways, the three games were all fantastic experiences for our players.
“They will have learnt a huge amount, we were leading at Charlton, 2-1 in the 89th minute and we’ve ended up losing the tie 3-2 and I went into the dressing room afterwards and of course, you’re all bitterly disappointed and if you like, you’re looking for the reasons as to why you’ve lost out so late in the game.
“But those players will learn so much from that experience because you’re in against a league club whose manager, Karl Robinson, was giving his side pelters that we could hear from the dressing room because he knew how close they were to getting beat by an U21 team.
“So you’ve gone from that situation to losing, those players won’t forget that, if we hung on and won 2-1 for some would’ve been saying what is all the fuss about, when actually they will have learnt a huge amount.
“So in adversity, we find a huge amount out about our players and the Checkatrade was a really good experience for us.”
Lincoln City take on Shrewsbury Town in the final on Sunday, April 4 at Wembley, with the Imps knocking out Chelsea U21s 4-2 on penalties in the semi-finals back in February.
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