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Man City and Spurs U21s learn EFL Trophy groups

Coventry City won the EFL Trophy for the first time in their history in April

Manchester City’s under-21 side have been drawn against Bradford, Chesterfield and Rotherham in the group stages of the EFL Trophy.

Tottenham Hotspur’s under-21 team, who are new to the competition alongside City, Newcastle and Fulham, will face AFC Wimbledon, Barnet and Luton.

League One side Portsmouth were kept apart from the under-21 side of local rivals Southampton in the draw.

Holders Coventry face Shrewsbury, Walsall, and West Brom’s under-21s.

Chelsea’s academy side faces long trips to Exeter, Plymouth and Yeovil after League One and Two clubs were grouped together to minimise travel for players and supporters.

The competition features 16 under-21 teams from clubs with category one academies, in addition to the 48 League One and League Two clubs.

Harvey welcomes input from EFL clubs

2017-18 will be the second season that selected Premier League and Championship academy teams have taken part in the competition.

A one-season trial in 2016-17 received mixed reviews – while a higher proportion of young English players featured than in previous seasons, there were low attendances during the group stage and some clubs were fined for breaching rules regarding team selection.

League One and Two clubs voted to continue with the existing structure in May and amendments were made to certain regulations.

Among the changes are clubs being allowed greater selection flexibility, higher prize money and invited teams playing their group fixtures away from home.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “I certainly think any valid excuses that were in place last year in relation to the speed with which the competition was put together have obviously gone.

“The big advantage we’ve had this time is to have the chance to sit down and talk with our teams in a level of detail that never existed last year.”

Full draw

Northern section

  • Group A: Carlisle, Fleetwood, Morecambe, Leicester City Under-21
  • Group B: Accrington Blackpool, Wigan, Middlesbrough Under-21
  • Group C: Blackburn, Bury, Rochdale, Stoke City Under-21
  • Group D: Crewe, Oldham, Port Vale, Newcastle United Under-21
  • Group E: Coventry, Shrewsbury, Walsall, West Brom Under-21
  • Group F: Bradford, Chesterfield, Rotherham, Manchester City Under-21
  • Group G: Lincoln, Mansfield, Notts County, Everton Under-21
  • Group H: Doncaster, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Sunderland Under-21

Southern Section

  • Group A: Charlton, Crawley, Portsmouth, Fulham Under-21
  • Group B: Colchester, Gillingham, Southend, Reading Under-21
  • Group C: Bristol Rovers, Swindon, Wycombe, West Ham Under-21
  • Group D: Exeter, Plymouth, Yeovil, Chelsea Under-21
  • Group E: Cheltenham, Forest Green, Newport, Swansea Under-21
  • Group F: AFC Wimbledon, Barnet, Luton, Tottenham Under-21
  • Group G: MK Dons, Oxford, Stevenage, Brighton Under-21
  • Group H: Cambridge, Northampton, Peterborough, Southampton Under-21

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