The Checkatrade Trophy draw as gone ahead on Wednesday.

The Police having prior to the draw, saved Sunderland from potential serious embarrassment.

Last month it was confirmed (see below) that Newcastle United would once again enter a team of kids in the Checkatrade Trophy, as one of 16 Category One Academies in the competition, along with the first teams of the 48 League One and Two clubs.

With the group stage divided into north and south, it looked to be a one in eight chance of Newcastle’s kids playing Sunderland’s first team.

However, the Police intervened and in a move to prevent potential trouble, they have blocked Newcastle playing Sunderland and Southampton playing Portsmouth.

EFL statement:

“Southampton U21s will be prevented from being drawn with Portsmouth and Newcastle U21s will avoid Sunderland in Round One, as the EFL has committed to work in conjunction with the Police to avoid high-profile clashes in the Group Stages.”

(Not sure what would happen beyond the group stage if both qualify…?)

As stated above, the draw was split into eight groups of four in the north and eight groups in the south.

Instead of potentially Newcastle United, the big club’s academy side that Sunderland will face (in northern section Group A) are Championship outfit Stoke City, as well as League Two clubs Morecambe and Carlisle.

As for Newcastle’s Academy team, they will face League One Doncaster Rovers (in northern section Group G), as well as League two clubs Grimsby and (Kevin Nolan’s) Notts County.

Graham Porter