The EFL have confirmed the 16 Category One academies that have accepted their invite to participate in the EFL Trophy, with the group stage now drawn.
Ten Premier League clubs agreed to take part after the initial invite but Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Championship side Newcastle rejected the chance.
At this new stage in the controversial revamp, Blackburn, Brighton, Derby, Norwich, Reading and Wolves have saved the EFL’s blushes, with the competition organisers confirming that West Ham will not play any of their ‘home’ ties at the Olympic Stadium due to their tenancy agreement prohibiting them from doing so.
Reigning FA Youth Cup champions Chelsea will face last year’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy finalists Oxford, who will also face rivals Swindon Town and League Two Exeter City.
Elsewhere in the Southern Section, AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth will play a repeat of their League Two Play-off Final which saw the Dons progress to the anguish of Argyle.
In the controversial revamp the academy teams will be required to field at least six youth players in their starting XIs in an initiative designed to increase interest in the competition.
The EFL are yet to disclose how the group stage meetings will be mapped, but the first matches of the competition are set to be played on the 30 August.
EFL Trophy group stage draw
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
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, Milton Keynes Dons
Group G – Brighton & Hove Albion, Southend United, Stevenage, Leyton Orient
Group H – West Bromwich Albion, Millwall, Luton Town, Gillingham
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