Premier League academies drawn in EFL Trophy

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

Northern 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

Southern 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, 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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