Checkatrade Trophy draw: 12 PL clubs enter competition

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The draw for the group stages of the Checkatrade Trophy has taken place with 12 Premier League clubs entering U-21 teams into the competition.

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Tottenham, Chelsea and Manchester City will all have their young talent in the competition, as 12 PL clubs who possess category one academies have decided to compete in the midweek tournament that sees teams from League One and League Two (third and fourth tiers of English soccer) also compete for the Football League Trophy.

Plenty of PL U-21 teams entered the competition last season as a trial run and now Tottenham, Man City and Newcastle have decided to join in on the fun, although Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United declined to participate.

The main aim is to try and attract bigger crowds for the lower leagues teams and also to give academy age players from PL clubs the chance to fight for a trophy and experience playing against professionals from the lower leagues which may help their development.

For the U-21 teams six of the starting 11 have to be under the age of 21, while the League One and League Two teams have to field at least five first team players in their starting XI.

Below is the draw in full for the groups with the competition regionalized to cut down on travel during the week. The group stage games will take place in August and September, with the tournament then turning into a straight knockout competition.

Checkatrade Trophy draw

Northern Section
Group A: Carlisle, Fleetwood, Morecambe, Leicester City Under-21
Group B: Accrington Blackpool, Wigan, Middlesbrough Under-21
Group C: Blackburn, Bury, Rochdale, Stoke City Under-21
Group D: Crewe, Oldham, Port Vale, Newcastle United Under-21
Group E: Coventry, Shrewsbury, Walsall, West Brom Under-21
Group F: Bradford, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Manchester City Under-21
Group G: Lincoln, Mansfield, Notts County, Everton Under-21
Group H: Doncaster, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Sunderland Under-21

Southern Section
Group A: Charlton, Crawley, Portsmouth, Fulham Under-21
Group B: Colchester, Gillingham, Southend, Reading Under-21
Group C: Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Wycombe, West Ham Under-21
Group D: Exeter, Plymouth, Yeovil, Chelsea Under-21
Group E: Cheltenham, Forest Green, Newport, Swansea Under-21
Group F: AFC Wimbledon, Barnet, Luton, Tottenham Under-21
Group G: MK Dons, Oxford, Stevenage, Brighton Under-21
Group H: Cambridge, Northampton, Peterborough, Southampton Under-21