Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler does not believe Town will be hit with a fine after breaking Checkatrade Trophy rules by changing their entire starting 11 for the 4-2 defeat at Carlisle that saw them bow out of the controversial competition.
The rules demand that at least five starting players are retained from the previous match but Rosler insists he has a reasonable explanation and a duty to protect his squad.
Town could be fined £5,000 for not meeting the quota, but Rosler believes the club should not be punished because their previous game was played only 48 earlier and they face two more in the next six days.
He said: “It was a conscious decision by us as a football club because we have a responsibility to our players.
“We can’t run them into the ground and not expect them to pick up injuries.
“I don’t think we will be punished. We have a reasonable explanation.
“As far as I know Chelsea got dispensation to delay a game by two weeks.
“There was no other option for us. We have four games in nine days, so it is virtually impossible.
“I don’t understand the fine because this is a development tournament.
“What is the difference between Premier League U23 teams and us? There should be no difference.
“We got forced to do that because of the schedule we have. We gave young English players a competitive game in a competitive tournament against a side that are unbeaten this season and we took them right to the wire.
“The players (we brought in) got an opportunity and they know now where the level is. Some of them did well and some will realise they have a way to go, but it was a great opportunity to put them right in the firing line and see what happens.”
Rosler was pleased that Town fought back from 3-0 down at half-time against a side who are second in League Two and won all three games in their Checkatrade Trophy group.
He said: “Even in the first half we were in the game. We had some good momentum around their box but we made some crazy mistakes.
“We were naive at times but we had two or three opportunities when we should have tested the keeper.
“I thought we were on top in the second half. The fourth goal killed it off but I was very happy with the second half.
“It was a great experience for our younger players. That was real football because at that level if you make mistakes you get punished, and that is what we got in the first half.”
When you work with younger players who have not played at that level at all before you expect them to make mistakes. They will learn from their mistakes.”