Wolves to compete in 2021/22 Papa John's Trophy

Wolves will be aiming to reach the knockout stages of the Papa John’s Trophy for a third successive season after once again being named as one of the 16 Category One Academy sides taking part.

James Collins will lead a Wolves under-21 side in the 2021/22 edition of the EFL competition, after his side fell in the second round of last year’s tournament to Port Vale.

The under-21s faced Oldham Athletic, Bradford City and Doncaster Rovers in the group stages last time out, reaching the knockout stages having finished second in Northern Group F behind the Latics, thanks to a penalty shootout victory against the Bantams and a 2-1 win at the Keepmoat Stadium, in which Fabio Silva netted both of the gold and black goals.

However, Wolves’ Papa John’s Trophy campaign came to an end in the second round at Vale Park, with Taylor Perry’s opener being cancelled out before half-time, before a late winner from the Staffordshire side secured their place in the third round.

This season’s format once again sees 16 invited Academy teams, including Wolves, joined by the 48 clubs in League One and League Two – split into their respective Northern and Southern groups – and 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 Papa John’s Trophy group stages will take place on Thursday 24th June at 4.30pm, broadcast live on Sky Sports, with live streams also available on Twitter @PapaJohnsTrophy and online at EFL.com.

EFL Trophy factfile:

Group stages

  • 16 groups of four teams, split between north and south
  • Each group to contain one invited academy 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 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.

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
  • 2019/20 (under-21s): Round two
  • 2020/21 (under-21s): Round two