Brighton manager Chris Hughton has championed the new Checkatrade Trophy competition as a "breeding ground for young talent".

According to ​The Sun, the Seagulls boss insisted that youngsters will revel in the new-look competition (formerly the Johnstone's Paint Trophy) which will allow teenagers to experience "men's football" before challenging for regular first team spots.

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While Hughton's first team high-fliers beat Bristol City 2-0 in the league at weekend to remain second in the table, the U23s will be looking for their first Checkatrade Trophy win, after losing the opener 2-0 to Southend and drawing 2-2 against Stevenage. 

The competition's new format means they currently lie third in their regionalised "Southern Group G", and must beat Leyton Orient on Tuesday to progress through to the round of 32 as group runners-up.

On the benefits of the rebranded competition, Hughton said "It's a bit of a throwback to before the academies and it's given us a real opportunity for our younger players to make a step up into men's football.

"The old reserve football could put you up against a player who has played 200 league games and that sort of experience is invaluable and has been missing."

So far there has been some evidence to back up Hughton's claims that the competition can help the integration of quality youth prospects, with Sam McQueen of Southampton performing well enough to earn himself a Premier League and Europa League debut, and Emeka Obi completing a transfer from Bury to Liverpool.


In agreement with Hughton it seemed, was Exeter City boss Paul Tisdale, who spoke of starlet Ethan Ampadu. 

Tisdale said "Ethan Ampadu played against Brentford in the League Cup as a 15-year-old.

"He also played against Chelsea and so did Ollie Watkins and it's important, a great exercise for two young players with value to quantify their talent against Chelsea players who might have been brought in for £1m."

While the Checkatrade Trophy might well prove to be a 'breeding ground for youth', it has certainly suffered attendance-wise with many fans choosing to boycott games so far in protest to the altered competition.