Southampton Football Club will be one of the 16 Category 1 Academies competing in the 2016/17 EFL Trophy.
Saints, along with 15 other Category 1 Academies, will join EFL League 1 and League 2 teams in the newly formatted competition for the upcoming campaign.
The draw for the group stages, of which Saints are required to play their one home game at St Mary’s, will take place at 10am on Wednesday 27th July.
Saints have been placed in the Southern Section 2, along with Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City and West Bromwich Albion as the other Category 1 Academies.
Charlton Athletic, Gillingham, Millwall, MK Dons, Peterborough United and Southend United are the six League 1 clubs who Saints could face, with Barnet, Colchester United, Crawley Town, Leyton Orient, Luton Town and Stevenage from League 2.
Here’s all you need to know about the competition format for the EFL Trophy:
- 48 clubs from League One & Two.
- 16 invited Category 1 Academy teams.
- EFL clubs: a minimum of five ‘first-team’ players in the starting 11 as defined under the competition’s existing rules.
- Invited clubs: six of the starting 11 to be Under-21 (as at June 30).
- 16 groups of four teams organised on a regionalised basis.
- Groups to include one invited club and at least one club from each of Leagues 1 & 2.
- Clubs to play each other once, either home or away. Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s first-team stadium.
- Clubs will be awarded three points for a win and one point for a draw. In the event of a drawn game (after 90 minutes), a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.
- The top two teams will progress to the knockout stage.
- Round 2 (32 teams) will remain regionalised with each group winner being drawn at home to a second-placed team from a different qualifying group.
- Round 3 (16 teams) and Round 4 (8 teams) will be ‘free’ draws.
- Semi-finals (four teams) will be a 'free’ draw and will consist of single ties played at the stadium of the club drawn first in each tie.
- If scores are level after 90 minutes in Rounds 2, 3 and 4, the game will be determined by the taking of penalties. The EFL will confirm arrangements for the semi-finals and final in due course following further consultation.
- Group Stage
- w/c 29th August 2016
- w/c 3rd October 2016
- w/c 7th November 2016
- Round 2 - w/c 5th December 2016
- Round 3 - w/c 9th January 2017
- Round 4 - w/c 23rd January 2017
- Semi-final - w/c 20th February 2017
- Final - 2nd April 2017 (Wembley Stadium)