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Checkatrade Trophy: Need to know

COMPETITION: Manchester City's Academy side will again play in the Checkatrade Trophy this season.

COMPETITION: Manchester City's Academy side will again play in the Checkatrade Trophy this season.

Manchester City's 2018/19 Checkatrade Trophy campaign gets underway at Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.

The Blues are one of 16 Under-21 teams set to compete in the 2018/19 instalment of the competition, with EDS boss Paul Harsley overseeing the squad.

Here’s everything you need to know about the competition…

Brief history

The English Football League Trophy, to give it its official title, was first introduced for the 1983/84 season.

City have played in the competition once, during the 1998/1999 campaign when it was known as the Auto Windscreens Shield.

READ: Paul Harsley post Liverpool match reaction

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Joe Royle’s Blues went down 2-1 at home against Mansfield Town, with Danny Allsopp on the scoresheet.

Competition revamp

Until the 2016/17 season, only League 1 and League 2 sides had been eligible to compete, but now 16 clubs from the Premier League and Championship that hold Category One academy status are invited to enter an Under-21 side.

Clubs were initially invited based on their 2016/17 league performance and should they not accept, subsequent teams were then offered a place.

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The introduction of academy teams also saw a change in the competition format, which had previously been a knockout tournament throughout, but now features an initial group stage.

Last season City went out in the group stages, having beaten Rotherham 4-2 on penalties after a 1-1 draw but then losing 2-1 at Bradford before being edged out 4-3 on penalties at Chesterfield after a 2-2 draw in normal time.

Lincoln City were the eventual winners of the Trophy.

Which other Under-21 teams are involved?

Eleven other Premier League clubs have entered a squad in the competition, with four teams from the Championship completing the list of Category One academy teams.

Premier League: Arsenal, Brighton, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Leicester, Newcastle, Southampton, Spurs, West Ham, Wolves

Championship: Middlesbrough, Stoke, Swansea, West Brom

Player eligibility

Manager Harsley must name six players in his starting XI who are under the age of 21 as of 30 June 2018.

Teams may only include two players on the team sheet, aged over 21, who have made forty or more senior appearances, as at 30 June 2018.

Format

The first round of the competition is a group stage, with the 64 participating clubs divided into 16 groups of four.

Groups will be regionalised – which remains up until the quarter-final stage – and one invited under-21 team will be included in each group, with the top two qualifying for the knockout stages.

READ: Manchester City Under 21s lean Checkatrade opponents

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Teams will play each other once in the group stage and in the knockout rounds fixtures will be decided by penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes, up until in the semi-final.

In the final, extra-time will precede a penalty shoot-out.

Rules to note

City will play all three of their group stage games away from home.

In the group stage, if scores are level after 90 minutes, the game will go to penalties and the winning team will be awarded an extra point.

Key dates

The Blues have been drawn in Group D of the Northern Section alongside Shrewsbury Town, Crewe Alexandra and Tranmere Rovers.

We begin our campaign away at Shrewsbury on Tuesday, August 28 (kick-off 7pm) followed by a trip to Crewe on Tuesday, September 25 (7.30pm kick-off).

City’s Under-21s then round off the group stage campaign away at Tranmere on Tuesday, October 30 (kick-off 7pm).

 

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