Bolton manager Phil Parkinson is concerned about the welfare of his young team after the 5-0 defeat at Tranmere.
Wanderers’ ongoing financial problems have left Parkinson with only youngsters to choose from as they aim to overturn a 12-point deduction in Sky Bet League One.
Morgan Ferrier scored twice while Ollie Banks, Connor Jennings and Stefan Payne also netted as Tranmere condemned the Trotters to their third defeat in four games.
Parkinson said: “The young players have given us everything, but it’s not fair to ask them to play three games in seven days.
“With the deal to take over this club still not over the line, the EFL insisting in us playing this game – for me it’s hung the lads and all the staff out to dry.
“It’s not right sending young players out who physically aren’t ready to play first-team football in this environment.
“I feel for the lads and the staff. It’s unfair on this group of people, especially the young players.
“After Tuesday we sent a report to the EFL with our concerns about the welfare of the young players going again, but they insisted we played the game.
“That hurts me because there’s no way they should be made to play the game until the situation is sorted out.”
Wanderers’ young side held out well for most of the first half but their resistance was broken seven minutes before the break when Banks fired into the roof of the net from just inside the penalty area.
Rovers doubled their advantage two minutes later as Bolton failed to deal with a corner from Kieron Morris, allowing Ferrier to sweep home his first goal for the club.
Ferrier had been lucky to stay on the pitch after a late tackle on Harry Brockbank, but he notched his second moments into the second half, with a superb individual goal to make it 3-0.
Tranmere smelt blood, hunting for more goals, and they found them when Jennings converted a pull-back from Morris before substitute Payne diverted a Paul Mullin shot into the net for a fifth.
Micky Mellon pulled no punches in his assessment of Tranmere’s first league win of the season.
He said: “It was a difficult game for us but one that we would have expected to win, with all due respect to Bolton. There was a lot of pressure on us to make sure that we got the job done and we did.
“There’s still a lot of work needed to be done. We haven’t got really anywhere near where I expect us to get to in order to become competitive.
“We’re delighted to get a win like that but we’ll be onto the players on Monday, because we want them to be very good.
“There’s still stuff there that we felt that we would have to tidy up on. We won’t take our foot off.
“We’ll keep on pushing until we get what we want to see and that’s a competitive League One team, because we’ve got to keep the standards high.”