Darren Ferguson says playing under 21s football is not enough to aid the development of young players.
The Rovers boss is determined to arrange loan deals for as many of the club’s young players as possible in order for them to get game time in what he calls ‘men’s football.’
“Billy hasn’t played for nine weeks,” Ferguson told The Star. “It’s too long and it doesn’t make any sense.
“The U21s is good but games get cancelled and it leaves too big a gap.
“To play once every three or four weeks isn’t going to be good enough.
“I need to get these lads out. It’s good for them.
“I’d imagine they’ll go to Conference teams where it’s man’s football. I want to see how they cope with that.
“It’s not going to be for a season-long loan, just a month initially.
“As long as they’re enjoying it, teams are playing the right way and it’s adding to their development, that’s the key really.
“It’s for them to develop as footballers and it gives me a chance to see them as well, even if it’s just a DVD.”
Forward Liam Mandeville last week joined Whitby Town on a month’s loan while defender Paul McKay switched to Gainsborough Trinity, scoring on his debut on Saturday against FC United of Manchester.
And fellow youth team graduates, forward Jack McKay and wingers Billy Whitehouse and Matty Davies could soon be joining them.
Ferguson has urged the loanees to embrace the chance for game time.
He said: “It’s about character building and the lads have got to embrace it.
“There’s no point in them going and thinking they’ll be back here in a month.
“They deserve credit because they’ve all wanted to go. They understand it’s for them and it gets them games.
“No matter what level, if you’re playing games it’s better than playing in development games.”
The Rovers boss admits he has been impressed by the young players since arriving at the club last month.
“I’ve not seen much of Paul and Jack McKay because they’ve been injured but I like the young lads,” he said.
“Matty Davies has ability. There’s slight worries over his physique but he has ability.
“I like Mandeville and Whitehouse. It’s slightly unfortunate for those two that they’ve got players in front of them.
“But it makes sense for them to go out.”