Millwall to play Premier League U21s in EFL Trophy

MILLWALL will face Premier League academy teams next season after it was announced Category One academies will be invited to play in the EFL Trophy in a one-season trial in 2016-17.

The competition will be extended from 48 to 64 teams, with 16 teams from Category One academies invited to join League One and League Two clubs.

In a change from the current knock-out format, there will be 16 regional groups of four for the opening round.

The top two from each of those groups progress to a knock-out phase before the eventual final at Wembley in April 2017.

The revised format will see one academy side in each of the groups, which will also include at least one League One and League Two club.

Each team will play each other once in the group stage, with the academy teams permitted to play only one home game.

Once the group stages are complete, the rest of the competition will be a knock-out format.

The competition will have no title sponsor after Johnstone’s Paint’s deal expired at the end of the 2015-16 season.

Full details on the new format will be finalised within the next two weeks, with a final decision on the proposals to be taken in June 2017.