SIMON Eastwood is set to start in the Papa John’s Trophy tonight while Ed McGinty misses out with concussion.

McGinty had started the previous EFL Trophy fixture as Oxford United beat Leyton Orient 5-0 at the Kassam Stadium, in addition to the Carabao Cup ties against Swansea City and Crystal Palace.

However, the 23-year-old was knocked out during training on Thursday, and remains sidelined.

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Eastwood has been critical of the Trophy in the past, and was again honest about its layout.

He said: “People know my views about this competition, I’ve been here long enough and played enough games to realise that I thought it was a better competition when it was a straight knockout right at the start.

“It made it feel a little bit more like cup games, and I think it’s a bit long-winded now with the format how it is.

“People might disagree and say it’s more games for people to get chances, which I do understand.

“It’s another game to get more minutes and for the lads who haven’t been playing to try and get in the team.”

Despite his concerns with the format of the competition, Eastwood recognised regular game time is beneficial for him as he prepares to take on Chelsea Under-21s.

“It’s a big game for some players. I’ll be playing so it’ll be nice to keep playing and keep getting minutes,” the 33-year-old said.

“I feel like I play my best when I’m playing week in, week out, and every single game so it’s nice to have an extra game.

“If you’re a footballer, you want to play every game that you can.

“The number one is the league games but this is an added bonus to get 90 minutes and see where we go.

“It’s a strange game, playing a game like this. It’s something we’ve kind of got used to every season but from my point of view, I think it could be a lot more exciting if they did it a different way.”

While Eastwood had misgivings about the Trophy, United’s assistant boss Craig Short saw the positives the competition can have for the club’s younger players.

Short said: “When I was working at the Derby academy, we looked forward to this competition every year.

“I understand why the league clubs don’t enjoy it but coming this side now, working at first team level, I do enjoy it.

“One or two of the fringe players, and the youngsters who have helped us out this year, you’d like to think one or two of those might get a chance.

“That step up from academy to first team is sometimes mentally overawing but because they’ve been training with us so much, they seem now to be very comfortable.

“The PDP phase groups at those clubs like Man City and Chelsea, you see they have 60 or 70 players, they can choose from a huge pool.

“They’ll all be talented, you don’t go to one of the best academies in the world if you’re not talented.

“Our young players can see where they’re at, a lot of these players for their team will be looking to get a loan move somewhere and play senior football.

“It’s okay playing Under-23s football but it only takes you so far and you need to be playing senior football to be really spotted.

“I know the Chelsea boys will be looking to impress.”