Sunderland managed a second spectacular relegation in a row, last season seeing the Wearsiders finishing rock bottom in the Championship, 12 months after doing the same in the Premier League.

As the Mackems playing Accrington Stanley on a level playing field became reality, the spectre of the Checkatrade Trophy also loomed for Sunderland fans.

Newcastle United entered a side for the first time last season, their Under 21s featuring as Port Vale won the group and qualified along with Oldham, Newcastle in third place and Crewe bottom of the group.

Now it has been confirmed that the Magpies are once again one of 16 Category One academies to enter the tournament, alongside the 48 clubs in Leagues One and Two.

Those 48 clubs including Sunderland of course.

The 64 teams will be split into pools of four clubs, with each group having an invited academy side in it.

However, last season the group stage was split into north and south to keep travelling/expenses down, so if that is repeated and no reason to think it won’t be, then Newcastle United’s kids have a one in eight chance of drawing Sunderland’s first team in their northern group.

Invited Under 21 sides in 2018-19 EFL Trophy:






Leicester City

Manchester City


Newcastle United





West Brom

West Ham


BBC Sport have revealed that the EFL has tweaked the rules on who is eligible, with top-flight sides only able to now field two players over the age of 21 and made more than 40 first team appearances.

  • TheNutJob

    we need Pedro back for that then, he must be finished the garden by now

    • Rich Lawson

      He got a rossete at the Chelsea Flower Show and is now planning the floral arrangements around the new stadium,just waiting for Ambramovich to open an account at Homebase

    • Peaky

      Think he’s going global…..The Black Forest needs a pruning.

  • Rich Lawson

    I’d just love it” etc

  • kingfisher

    Pedro must be spending too long on Mrs Ashleys bush 🌳🤣

  • MadMag83

    They’ll be putting flying banners over the Tyne if they beat our kids.