Sunderland have had to be “cautious” when it comes to sending young players out on loan due to the new rules in place.
Usually the Black Cats would look to ship some of their promising younger players out to Football League clubs on loan deals.
But the emergency loan system has now been scrapped meaning players can’t move between transfer windows, with players only allowed to move on half or full-season loans before the respective summer and winter deadlines.
And if the players are recalled by their parent club, then they can’t play in the first team until the next transfer window.
The injury problems suffered by David Moyes since he took charge have also been a factor in the lack of players leaving on loan.
First team coach Robbie Stockdale believes the new-look Checkatrade Trophy, which Sunderland have entered for the very first time, can help fill the void, with several Under-23 players set to play against Rochdale tonight in the opening group game.
Stockdale told the Echo: “We have been in a situation where we have been cautious as a club not to let a player go out on loan because then he can’t play in our first team until the next window.
“If you take that away, then you have to give something back to aid the development.
“I see this (competition) as a step forward. In three games time we might think it is brilliant or this needs to happen next.
“I am pleased they are trying something, though.
“We have had enquiries about some of our players on the fringes of the first team and if you had that option to bring them back after a month you would.
“Because now they can go out on loan but then only come back and play Under-23 games you lose them.
“Certainly with our situation, with our squad not being the biggest at the time, we have to look after ourselves a bit.
“From what the players may miss out on playing league football, hopefully this competition will replicate that plus they are training with the first team every day.”