The EFL have announced the 16 teams that have been invited to take part in the forthcoming season’s EFL Trophy earlier today. All of the teams that have been invited have the Category 1 status of academy (we have Category 2 for those who are interested).
Whether you support the academy teams in the competition or you are #BTeamBoycott like thousand of League 1 and 2 fans are, it’s the third season that the competition will contain the mostly under-aged teams (the Alex have hosted Wolves and Newcastle’s U21 teams over the last 2 seasons) after teams voted in the chance to trial the idea in the 2016/17 season.
The major rule changes for the competition this season sees clubs eligible to use players that have been loaned out to National League clubs (so using last season as an example Daniel Udoh and Will Jaaskelainen would have been eligible for the Alex after Christmas should we have gotten that far) and the invited clubs can only name 2 players who are over 21 and have at least 40 first team appearances, I would assume that would include loan moves but the press releases so far are vague, so there will be no team that contains a Charlie Adam, Bruno Martins Indi, Ibrahim Afellay and Sadio Berahino like Stoke named in their final group game at Bury last season.
The format will remain the same with one of the invited teams in each of the 16 groups divided into North and South sections with at least 1 team from both Leagues 1 and 2 in each group and a straight knock-out after the group stage.
Brighton & Hove Albion
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
* First time entrants