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EFL Trophy: Need to Know

City’s Under-21s return to English Football League Trophy action on Wednesday night when we visit Rochdale for the first of our Northern Group F matches.

The City youngsters are one of 16 Under-21 teams taking part in the 2019/20 instalment of the competition, which is now branded as the Leasing.com Trophy.

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 also played in it when it was known as the Auto Windscreens Shield.

City then entered the tournament – now known as the Checkatrade Trophy – in the 2017/18 campaign but didn’t make it beyond the group stage.

Last season, Paul Harsley’s young charges progressed through to the quarter-final stage before bowing out to Sunderland.

For the 2019/20 campaign, the EFL has been rebranded as the Leasing.com Trophy.

Competition revamp

Until three seasons ago, 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 are initially invited based on their 2018/19 league performance and should they not accept, subsequent teams are offered a place.

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.

Which other Under-21 teams are involved?

Fourteen 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 Northern section: Aston Villa, Everton, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Premier League Southern section: Arsenal, Brighton, Chelsea, Norwich, Southampton, Tottenham, West Ham 

Championship: Fulham

Player eligibility

Manager Harsley must name six players in his starting XI who are under the age of 21 as of 30 June 2019.

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 the case 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.

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, which is played at Wembley, 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

After Wednesday’s trip to the Crown Oil Arena, City's other Northern Group F games see us visit Bradford on Tuesday, September 24th before our final group stage game away at Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday, October 29th.


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