Ben Dawson expects to learn a lot about his Newcastle United players in the Checkatrade Trophy.
The club’s Under-23s take on League One Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow night (7pm kick-off).
We’re probably not so sure about the group we have at the moment, but previously, we’ve had players who think they should be out playing first-team football, and I think it’s always a good barometer for them to test themselves.Ben Dawson
Newcastle didn’t make it out of their Checkatrade Trophy group last year, though Dawson felt the players benefited from three games against first-team opposition.
“I thought it was terrific for us last year, I really did,” said Dawson, United’s Under-23 coach. “We’re probably not so sure about the group we have at the moment, but previously, we’ve had players who think they should be out playing first-team football, and I think it’s always a good barometer for them to test themselves against some seasoned pros.
“A lot of these lads have played at the top level and they’re dropping down the leagues, or they’ve played at that level for 400 or 500 games.”
Newcastle beat Crewe Alexandra last season, but lost to Port Vale and Oldham Athletic.
“It was a really good test for our group, and it’ll be an even bigger test this year, which will be good,” said Dawson. “We had two great performances in our first two games.”
Freddie Woodman could start in goal for Newcastle, while Rolando Aarons and Achraf Lazaar – who failed to secure loans away from the club last month – are eligible to be included as over-age players.