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Category One teams enter EFL Trophy draw

27 Jul 2016
West Ham captain Reece Oxford lifts the 2015/16 U21 Premier League Cup

View the full draw as 16 Premier League 2 sides including West Ham and Chelsea compete against League One and League Two sides

Sixteen Category One academy sides from Premier League 2 will face League One and League Two teams in the EFL Trophy this season after the draw was announced this morning. 

In the South Section, last season's Premier League Cup winners West Ham United face Coventry City, Wycombe Wanderers and Northampton Town in their group, while 2013/14 Premier League 2 winners Chelsea meet Swindon Town, Exeter City and Oxford United.

The North Section sees 2015/16 PL2 runners-up Sunderland encounter Rochdale, Hartlepool United and Notts County, while the academy side of defending Premier League champions Leicester City face matches with Sheffield United, Grimsby Town and Walsall. 

This is the first time that Category One sides from the new-look Premier League 2, an Under-23 competition that replaced the Under-21 Premier League this summer, will take on senior English Football League teams in a competitive tournament, with a final at Wembley Stadium at stake for the 64 teams in the draw.

For the full draw of the EFL Trophy Group Stage, as well as details of the competition format read below. 

EFL Trophy: Group stage draw

North Section

Group A: Everton, Bolton Wanderers, Cheltenham Town, Blackpool
Group B: Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chesterfield, Crewe Alexandra, Accrington Stanley
Group C: Stoke City, Bradford City, Morecambe, Bury
Group D: Blackburn Rovers, Fleetwood Town, Carlisle United, Oldham Athletic
Group E: Derby County, Port Vale, Doncaster Rovers, Mansfield Town
Group F: Sunderland, Rochdale, Hartlepool United, Notts County
Group G: Middlesbrough, Scunthorpe United, Cambridge United, Shrewsbury Town
Group H: Leicester City, Sheffield United, Grimsby Town, Walsall

South Section

Group A: Reading, Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, Yeovil Town
Group B: Swansea City, AFC Wimbledon, Newport County, Plymouth Argyle
Group C: Chelsea, Swindon Town, Exeter City, Oxford United
Group D: West Ham United, Coventry City, Wycombe Wanderers, Northampton Town
Group E: Southampton, Charlton Athletic, Colchester United, Crawley Town
Group F: Norwich City, Peterborough United, Barnet, MK Dons
Group G: Brighton & Hove Albion, Southend United, Stevenage, Leyton Orient
Group H: West Bromwich Albion, Millwall, Luton Town, Gillingham

Category One academy teams are in 

Competition format explained

  • Each group consists of Category One academy side, a team from both League One and League Two and then an extra team from one of those senior divisions.
  • Each club plays every opposing team in the group once, home or away, before the top two teams qualify and compete in knockout stages towards the final at Wembley Stadium.  
  • EFL clubs must play a minimum of five 'First Team' players in the starting XI as defined in the competition's existing rules, while six of the starting line-ups for Category One academies need to be Under-21 (as of 30 June 2016).
  • The round of 32 stays regionalised, with group winners at home to second-placed team from a different group
  • The last 16 and quarter-finals are free draws, while the semi-finals will be played at the main stadium of the club drawn first in the tie
  • Matches in the round of 16, last 16 and quarter-finals will go to penalties if they are level after 90 minutes. The details for the semi-finals and final will be confirmed by the EFL in due course. 

To get all the latest reaction to the EFL Trophy draw, follow @EFLTrophy on Twitter and use the #EFLTrophy hashtag.

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