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Checkatrade Trophy: Need to know

Need to know: Checkatrade Trophy Manchester City will enter an Academy side in the Checkatrade Trophy for the first-time next season.

The Blues are one of 16 under-21 teams set to compete in the 2017/18 instalment of the competition, with EDS boss Simon Davies set to manage the squad.

Here’s everything you need to know about the competition…

 

Brief history

The English Football League Trophy, to give it its official title, was first introduced for the 1983/84 season.

City have played in the competition once, during the 1998/1999 campaign when it was known as the Auto Windscreens Shield.

Joe Royle’s Blues went down 2-1 at home against Mansfield Town, with Danny Allsopp on the scoresheet.

 

Competition revamp

Until last season, only League 1 and League 2 sides had been eligible to compete, but now 16 clubs from the Premier League and Championship that hold Category One academy status are invited to enter an under-21 side.

Clubs are initially invited based on their 2016/17 league performance and should they not accept, subsequent teams are offered a place.

The introduction of academy teams also saw a change in the competition format, which had previously been a knockout tournament throughout, but now features an initial group stage.

 

Which other under-21 teams are involved?

Eleven other Premier League clubs have entered a squad in the competition, with four teams from the Championship completing the list of Category One academy teams.

Premier League: Brighton, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, Newcastle, Southampton, Stoke, Swansea, Spurs, West Brom, West Ham.

Championship: Fulham, Middlesbrough, Reading, Sunderland.

 

Player eligibility

Manager Davies must name six players in his starting XI who are under the age of 21 as of 30 June 2017.

 

Format

The first round of the competition is a group stage, with the 64 participating clubs divided into 16 groups of four.

Groups will be regionalised – which remains up until the quarter-final stage – and one invited under-21 team will be included in each group, with the top two qualifying for the knockout stages.

Teams will play each other once in the group stage and in the knockout rounds fixtures will be decided by penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes, up until in the semi-final.

In the final, extra-time will precede a penalty shoot-out.

 

Rules to note

  • City will play all three of their group stage games away from home.
  • In the group stage, if scores are level after 90 minutes, the game will go to penalties and the winning team will be awarded an extra point.

Key dates

The Blues will find out who they face in the group stage on Wednesday 12 July, with the first round of fixtures scheduled for the week commencing 28 August.

 

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Ambrose: Fans helped me through injury

BACK IN THE SWING OF IT: Thierry Ambrose fits in with the rest of the squad

Manchester City’s Premier League 2 striker Thierry Ambrose has thanked fans for their support after his return from injury.

After over 11 months sidelined with a knee injury, the French striker has featured in the last two matches for Simon Davies’ side and even scored in Saturday’s draw with Chelsea.

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Davies: Ambrose and Boadu are a credit

Manchester City EDS boss Simon Davies praised the attitude of returning stars Thierry Ambrose and Denzeil Boadu after City’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Both Ambrose and Boadu have missed most of 2016 so far through injury but their second half introductions to this match gave City a much needed boost.

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Man City v Chelsea PL2: Key battles

Manchester City welcome Chelsea for a battle between two of the heavyweights in the Premier League 2 on Saturday but where will it be decided?

After an excellent October in which City won all three matches and Paolo Fernandes was named as Player of the Month, Simon Davies’ side will be looking to return to form.