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How to Optimize Reserve and Senior Squads?

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How do you distribute your players across Senior and Reserve Squads?

In particular, I'm thinking: do you keep backup players in the Senior Squad, or move all backups to the Reserve Squad?

Any suggestions on how I can optimize both Squads?... Thank you.

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If you have a player ready for the first team but isn't getting games because he isn't 1st choice, you can make him available for reserves. The best way to do this is when they lack match fitness make them ongoing available for reserves when it gives you the choice to play them in your reserves.

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I try to keep my first team squad really tight - first XI plus regular subs and a couple of others who will see plenty gametime. The rest go in my reserves. A key for me is keeping my full squad pretty small so that everyone is getting gametime. Anyone who isn't likely to make a significant contribution gets hoiked. All first team squad players who don't start (i.e. including substitutes) are also available for reserve games to keep their match condition maxed (if they play significant minutes off the bench I'll just make them unavailable for the midweek reserve fixture).

My youths are particularly important as I follow an 'academy challenge' philosophy. I give the youths whom I deem have a future full contracts asap and get them into my first team or reserve squads for full-time training. There is a 'sweetspot' concerning numbers in senior training where the coaches' workload increases, i.e. at a certain number of trainees the workloads will change from light to average. That number might depend on facilities and coach attributes, but it's the optimum number I'll keep in my squad. One little exploit concerning that is that any players who have serious long-term injuries sit it out in the U18 squad so that they aren't taking up a valuable training spot.

Having a mostly very young squad also helps in terms of man-management; kids don't see themselves as key players or first teamers, so don't mind bouncing between first team and reserve squads. More experienced players are likely to be more demanding.

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17 hours ago, Urotsukidoji said:

If you have a player ready for the first team but isn't getting games because he isn't 1st choice, you can make him available for reserves. The best way to do this is when they lack match fitness make them ongoing available for reserves when it gives you the choice to play them in your reserves.

And don't forget about setting the proper squad status of the players, or some may get unhappy with low playing time, especially first team or key players.

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