News and Views
Academy Get Bristol Rovers, Pompey and Yeovil
28 July 2016
By Hob Nob Anyone?
Reading will take part in the EFL Trophy (Johnstone's Paint Trophy) this season after being invited as one of the 16 Premier League and Championship clubs with a Category 1 status academy. The Royals weren't in the original 16 clubs to be invited to take part, but were called on after several of the countries "biggest" clubs declined the change to be involved. The format of 48 clubs from League One and League Two combined with 16 academy sides from the top two tiers of English football is on trial for this season only.
The competition usually involves just the lower two divisions of the Football League. Reading, and the other academy teams, will be required to field at least 6 under-21 players in their starting eleven in all fixtures. The format will allow Reading to play a mixture of academy and fringe first team squad players as they look to progress in the competition - which finishes at Wembley Stadium on 2nd April 2017.
The Royals have been drawn in Southern Group A, which includes Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, and Yeovil. As an academy side entry, Reading will play two games away followed by their final fixture at home. The away games are Bristol Rovers on 30 August 2016 and Portsmouth on 4 October 2016. The home fixture is expected to take place at the Madejski Stadium on 8 November 2016 against Yeovil Town. The games take place in the International breaks - the only useable breaks in the fixture lists - which may have put off some of the invited academy sides.
The 16 academy sides include Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United, Stoke City, Chelsea, Everton, Swansea City, West Bromwich Albion, Sunderland, Norwich City, Middlesbrough, Brighton and Hove Albion, Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, and Reading. Last year saw Barnsley lift the trophy with Wembley victory over Oxford United.
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