Neil Critchley has outlined the huge benefits that his U21 team have taken from playing in the Trophy so far this season.

The young Reds face an away trip to Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night in their final group game and still harbour an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.

John Coleman’s Stanley team have already secured their qualification but the runners-up spot is still up for grabs.

Critchley’s charges are fourth in the table but a victory would take them into second spot. They would then have to rely on the other remaining fixture in the group ending in a draw, which sees Fleetwood Town host Oldham Athletic on November 12.

Ahead of the 7.45pm GMT kick-off, a game you can watch live with our single-camera coverage on LFCTV, read on for Critchley’s thoughts on the game at the Wham Stadium and Saturday’s much-improved defensive performance from his U23s side against Blackburn Rovers…

On Saturday’s goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers in Premier League 2…

I don’t think we did enough throughout the game to warrant the three points. I don’t think we deserved to lose the game either and I thought we saw two honest teams on the pitch who gave everything and didn’t give an inch. There were some positives to take from the game and keeping a clean sheet is one of them and also seeing Isaac Christie-Davies and Liam Coyle back from injury. I was a little bit disappointed with our attacking play and we didn’t quite have the craft or the intelligence to unlock a well-drilled defence and that was probably the story of the whole game for us really.

On a much-improved defensive display after the previous weekend’s 4-3 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers…

Even though we won the game last week, I was really angry at the end of the game because I thought our mentality in periods of that game against Wolves was really poor. I thought our two centre-halves Tom Clayton and Morgan Boyes were very good, as were the back four and the goalkeeper.

LFCTV GO: Watch the Fleetwood Town highlights

On Tuesday night’s trip to face Accrington Stanley in the Trophy…

It’s a really good game for us to look forward to. We played on Saturday and we are going again on Tuesday night and this is what we want for our young players. The boys have to recover emotionally as well as physically and if we want to qualify from this group we know we have to win the game. We know we need other results to go our way. We’ve still got an outside chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, I think we’ll need a miracle, but we’ve still got something to play for in our last game. When you are playing against a team that is managed by John Coleman and Jimmy Bell you know what type of game you are going to get. Whatever team they put out will be battle-hardened and full of experience, ability and endeavour. We’ll have to be at our best if we are going to get anything out of this game.

On the invaluable experience the players have taken from the opening two games of the competition…

It’s brilliant for our players to be in this competition and it’s the first time we have entered it. We haven’t quite got the results we probably should have had. There’s reasons for that and defending from set-pieces has been costly for us. We are looking forward to this game and it would be nice to win because I think this competition has been a real worthwhile experience for us this season.

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Match report: U23s draw with Blackburn at Academy