Sunderland get lucky and avoid Newcastle United in Pizza Cup draw
The Newcastle United kids and the Sunderland first team were in the Pizza Cup draw on Thursday afternoon.
The group stages of the Papa John’s Trophy (formerly Checkatrade) seeing groups of three lower league teams and an Under 21 side from the bigger clubs.
Sunderland had the embarrassment of playing a first team fixture against an NUFC kids team a few years ago in the competition and were dreading a repeat.
Previous seasons have seen the organisers preventing them meeting in the group stage, with only the possibility in the knockout rounds.
However, this time, for whatever reason, it was a totally free draw, leaving the possibility of the NUFC Under 21s facing the Sunderland first team.
It wasn’t to be though.
With Newcastle United confirming (see below) that their Under 21s had been drawn against the first teams of Mansfield, Sheffield Wednesday and Harrogate.
Mansfield and Harrogate finished 16th and 17th respectively in League two last season but Sheffield Wednesday is the prime draw, probably the biggest club in the competition having just been relegated out of the Championship, with the help of a points deduction.
Meanwhile, Sunderland have drawn Bradford and Lincoln, as well as the Man Utd kids team.
Good luck to the NUFC Under 21s as they take on their League One and League Two first team opponents.
Newcastle United Official Announcement:
‘A Newcastle United under-21 side will take on Sheffield Wednesday, Harrogate Town and Mansfield Town in the group stages of next season’s Papa John’s Trophy.
Earlier this month, it was confirmed that United would be one of 16 Category One academies joining the 48 teams from League One and Two for next season’s competition, which was won by Sunderland’s first team last term.
Matchday one is scheduled to take place on the week commencing Monday, 30th August, with the second group stage fixture set to take place on the week commencing Monday, 4th October.
United will wrap up their initial fixtures on the week commencing Monday, 8th November and, should they progress, could have a round of 32 clash to look forward to on the week commencing Monday, 29th November.
Last term, Newcastle were unable progress from a group featuring Shrewsbury Town, Crewe Alexandra and Bolton Wanderers but in 2018/19, they won all three of their group games before beating Macclesfield Town on penalties at St. James’ Park to set up a last-16 tie against Sunderland, who came out on top at the Stadium of Light in front of a crowd of 16,654 – more than the attendances of the other last-eight ties combined.
All EFL clubs will play two of their three matches at home in the group stages and dates will be confirmed in due course.’
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