Wolves under-21s to compete in 2019/20 EFL Trophy

Wolves are set to make a return to the EFL Trophy for the upcoming season as one of the 16 Category One Academy sides in the competition.

Rob Edwards will once again lead a Wolves under-21 side in the 2019/20 edition of the tournament, which has been known as the Checkatrade Trophy and Sherpa Van Trophy in the previous years, after narrowly missing out on a place in the knockout stages last season.

The under-21s faced Mansfield Town, Lincoln City and Scunthorpe United last time out, coming up short on ‘goals scored’ after three teams in their group of four were tied on points and goal difference.

Wolves will join current holders Portsmouth, after their triumph against Sunderland at Wembley Stadium in March, as well as under-21 teams from all of last season’s Premier League top six, who are set to be fully represented in the competition for the first time.

The format, which sees 16 invited Academy teams joined by the 48 Clubs in League One and League Two, continues to provide EFL Clubs with a platform for some of the country’s finest young talent to experience first-team football.

The draw for the EFL Trophy group stages will take place in July, with the first round of fixtures scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 2nd September.

EFL Trophy factfile:

Wolves’ competition history

  • 1985/86: Group stages
  • 1986/87: Round one
  • 1987/88: Winners
  • 1988/89: Southern Area final
  • 2013/14: Round two
  • 2016/17 (under-21s): Round three
  • 2018/19 (under-21s): Group stages

Group stages

  • 16 groups of four teams
  • Each group to contain one invited team
  • Groups formed to minimise overall travel for EFL clubs and fans
  • Invited under-21 teams to play all group games away
  • Clubs will be awarded three points for a win, one point for a draw
  • In the event of a drawn game after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will be held with the victorious team gaining an extra point
  • Top two clubs qualify from each group

Knockout rounds

  • Round two will remain regionalised with group winners at home against a second placed team from a different qualifying group
  • Round three will remain regionalised
  • Quarter-finals will be drawn without geographical restriction (no regionalisation)
  • If scores are level after 90 minutes, all knockout rounds will be decided by penalties except for the final, which will have extra-time and then penalties

Player criteria

  • Six of the 11 players in the starting line-up need to be under-21 at 30th June this year
  • There can be no more than two players who are over 21 and have made more than 40 appearances for the first team (either in the starting 11 or as a playing substitute) as of 30th June
  • Players who are out on loan are ineligible for this competition
  • It is not possible to appear for more than one club in the tournament, so the cup-tied rule applies.