Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United among those added to much-maligned Checkatrade Trophy

Doncaster Rovers in action against Port Vale in the Checkatrade Trophy last season
Doncaster Rovers in action against Port Vale in the Checkatrade Trophy last season
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Four new under 21 teams have been added to the Checkatrade Trophy for next season.

Manchester City, Tottenham, Newcastle and Fulham are the latest to join the much-maligned competition which underwent huge changes last season, which included the introduction of Premier League and Championship youth teams.

Chelsea and Everton are also included again. Doncaster Rovers, Rotherham United and Chesterfield are the clubs taking part from our region.

The competition has been tweaked again after a severe drop in attendances for the ties last season, across the country.

However, despite the criticism, clubs from Leagues One and Two voted to carry on with the addition of Category One academies though there will be a change to the rules to allow more flexibility for EFL sides in their team selection.

EFL Chief Executive Shaun Harvey said: “I was delighted when EFL Clubs collectively backed the competition following a full and comprehensive review of last season’s pilot format and we can see from the increasing interest from Category One Academies that the Checkatrade Trophy has genuine appeal.

“The competition provides a unique challenge to young players and seasoned professionals alike. I strongly believe players from League One and League Two clubs will look forward to taking on some of the country’s brightest prospects, who will themselves learn a lot from participating in a first team competition.

“I want to thank EFL Clubs and the Category One Academies for their support. I believe the balance of the competition should benefit all sides and will make for some intriguing matches when the Group Stages get under way in August.”

First group stage matches are currently scheduled to take place on the week commencing August 28.

Full list of under 21 teams: Brighton & Hove Albion, Reading, Chelsea, Southampton, Everton, Stoke City, Fulham, Sunderland, Leicester City, Swansea City, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur. Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United, West Ham United