Category Archives: Crewe Alexandra

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

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Offside trust: Fighting one of football’s darkest secrets

On the 31st of March, 24/7 football travelled to the Deva Stadium in Chester to witness a groundbreaking game between the Offside trust XI and Hollyoaks XI. Although the Offside trust XI lost 7-2 on the day it was a monumental day for the charity and everyone involved.

Who are the Offside trust?

The Offside trust was set up in 2016 to help ex-footballers and other individuals within sport who were sexually abused as children. The trust was set up by former Crewe midfielder, Steve Walters, and former PGA professional, Chris Unsworth. The Offside trust was set up in December of 2016 after seven former professional players waived their right to anonymity to speak about their past abuse. The trust was set up in mind to provide a platform for other players who have suffered abuse to speak out and to make the world of sport a much safer place for children.

Child abuse in sport

In recent years, child abuse in football has become one of the biggest issues surrounding the beautiful game, tarnishing the reputation of the sport. In 2017 alone ,the Guardian reported that the police were investigating over 2000 child abuse cases in the UK. Furthermore, the NPCC ( National police chief council ) found 340 clubs had been impacted by investigations ranging from the top level of the game all the way down to amateur football in England. A truly staggering number that has stunned the football community, plus with the numbers of reported child abuse going up in the UK it leads to many asking, what is being done?  This is where the Offside trust comes in.

What the Offside trust do

The Offside trust are an important organisation that offers ex and current footballers and other sports players the opportunity to discuss their abuse. The trust also allows survivors to be able to open up about their abuse and not feel alone in doing so with the full support of the trust behind them. The Offside trust is also fully committed to ending child abuse in sport and allowing children to enjoy the sport without the fear of abuse. The trust is also committed to working with governing bodies inside and out of the sport to ensure the best safeguarding practices are in place to ensure no further abuse can be committed.

The importance of the Offside trust

With the rise of cases in child abuse in both football and other sports the Offside trust and other similar bodies have never been so important with charities like the Offside trust offering vital support and a safe environment for victims of abuse to come forward and not to feel alone in their struggles. With Steve Walters the founder of the Offside trust describing in an interview with 24/7 football that the Offside trust is “like a family where we share our problems and experiences but are there to support one another.” The charity’s work cannot be underestimated as it has helped give victims, or survivors as the Offside trust likes to call them, a voice and a safe family-like place to discuss issues and hopefully to help survivors move on with their lives.

Although the Offside trust XI lost 7-2 to the Hollyoaks XI it was still a significant day for the trust, raising thousands of pounds, playing in front of a decent crowd, and having players such as Danny Murphy and Trevor Sinclair playing for the trust XI.

If you know someone or you yourself have been affected by abuse please reach out. Links to the Offside trust will be below plus the email to the Offside trust.

support@offsidetrust.com, http://www.offsidetrust.com/

Also if you would like to donate to the Offside trust please click the link: https://mydonate.bt.com/charities/theoffsidetrust

Finally, if you would like to see our full interview with Steve Walters clink the link :

Written by Tom Langford

The Battle for Football League survival

With less than 9 games left in League Two, we here at 24/7 football decided to look at the final games for every club in the fight to retain their Football League status. This season has thrown up a few surprises and looks to keep that trend going into the final 8 or 9 games.

24. Notts County

Currently sat at the foot of the League Two table are Nottinghamshire based side, Notts County. County, who were preseason favourites for promotion, currently find themselves on the verge of entering the Non-League for the first time in their history. The oldest Football League club are also having a nightmare off the pitch with the club currently up for sale.

Notts County’s recent form – LDLWD

The Magpies head into the final 8 games in a slight rejuvenation of form with 4 points being acquired in their last two games. However, County have only picked up 5 points in their last 6 games and have struggled to string a prolonged run of form together all season. To add further salt to their wounds, County have been dire at Meadow Lane in recent weeks, with the Magpies having only picked up 7 points in their last 8 home matches.

Notts County’s final 8 games

Exeter City (H) 23/03/2019

Stevenage (A) 30/03/2019

Northampton Town (H) 06/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 13/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 19/04/2019

Crawley Town (A) 22/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 27/04/2019

Swindon Town (A) 04/05/2019

County have a fairly balanced final 8 games with Notts having to face 2 promotion-chasing sides in MK and Exeter. County also have to play an inform Northampton side and a playoff-chasing Stevenage. A tough easter weekend awaits on the horizon with the Magpies facing MK on the Friday before a long away trip to mid-table Crawley on the Monday which could be a deciding factor in Notts’ survival.

23. Macclesfield

Newly promoted Macclesfield town currently sit 23rd place under the guidance of former Arsenal and Spurs defender, Sol Campbell. Since Campbell’s arrival, the Silkmen have seen an improvement in their fortunes,  picking up 7 points in his first 4 league games. However, Campbell’s men have slumped back into their old habits over the recent weeks with Macclesfield winning just one of their last five league games.

Macclesfield Town’s recent Form – DDLLW

The Silkmen head into their final 9 games in good spirits after defeating 22nd placed Yeovil Town, 2-0. The victory over Yeovil ended a 7 game winless streak and has left Macclesfield only 3 points away from safety with the Cheshire-based side also having a game in hand on Yeovil.

Macclesfield Town’s  final 9 games

Stevenage (H) 23/03/2019

Lincoln City (A) 30/03/2019

Morecambe (H) 06/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 13/04/2019

Northampton Town (A) 19/04/2019

Newport County (H) 22/04/2019

Port Vale (A) 27/04/2019

Cambridge United (H) 04/05/2019

*Exeter (H) Date to be confirmed

Macclesfield arguably have one of the toughest final 9 games out of all the teams facing relegation with the Silkmen facing 3 of the top 7 teams. Furthermore, Macclesfield have to face both Stevenage and Northampton who will be hoping they can sneak into the playoffs. Macclesfield finally have two huge games at the end of the season facing 20th and 21st placed Port Vale and Cambridge who will be hoping to seal their futures as Football League clubs before the final two games. However, if the Silkmen can get results against the teams around them they can pull away from the drop zone.

22.Yeovil Town

In 2014, Yeovil Town were battling relegation from the Championship. Fast forward 5 years and Yeovil currently find themselves ominously facing relegation to the National League for the first time since they were promoted to the Football League in 2003. Yeovil, who had started the season in encouraging form, soon fell away and have subsequently been dragged into a relegation battle.

Yeovil Town’s recent form – WWLLL

Yeovil’s recent form makes for vexatious reading for Glovers fans, with the Somerset-based side sitting bottom of the League 2 form table. Yeovil have only picked up 9 points in there last 12 games and to add to their problems, have failed to win in their last 4 away games with the Glovers only scoring one goal in those 4 away trips.

Yeovil Town’s final 8 games

MK Dons (A) 23/03/2019

Newport County (H) 30/03/2019

Swindon Town (A) 06/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 13/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 19/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 22/04/2019

Northampton Town (A) 27/04/2019

Carlisle United (H) 04/05/2019

Yeovil arguably have one of the toughest finishes in the League with the Somerset-based side face 3 playoff-chasing teams in their final 3 games. With Macclesfield facing Port Vale and Cambridge, it could be crucial that Yeovil stop the rot and pick up points earlier and secure their survival.

21.Cambridge United

Cambridge United currently sit 8 points clear of the drop, however could still get sucked into a relegation battle if the U’s fail to pick up points in their final 9 remaining games. United will be hoping to seal their fate as a Football League club and play a sixth straight season in League Two.

Cambridge United’s recent form – LLWDD

Cambridge have managed to pull away from the bottom two with a burst of positive results. The U’s have managed to pick up 18 points in their last 12 games, allowing them to pull away from the drop. Cambridge have also improved their home form, picking up 15 points in their last 8 league games at the Abbey Stadium.

Cambridge United’s final 9 league games

Carlisle United (A) 23/03/2019

Colchester United (H)  30/03/2019

Mansfield Town (A) 06/04/2019

Newport County (H) 13/04/2019

Swindon Town (H) 19/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 22/04/2019

Morecambe (H) 27/04/2019

Macclesfield (A) 04/05/2019

*Bury (A) date to be confirmed

With the U’s facing 3 promotion chasing teams in their next three games, Cambridge could get dragged into a relegation battle if Notts County, Macclesfield and Yeovil all pick up points. Furthermore, Cambridge have to face both Morecambe and Macclesfield on the final two games of the seasons both of which might be must-wins if the U’s are dragged into a relegation battle.

20.Port Vale

Sat 8 points clear of the drop are Staffordshire-based side, Port Vale. Vale have been dragged into the relegation battle following poor on-field performances and off-field issues that have plagued the club this season, similar to the situation at Notts County. If Vale were to be relegated, it would be the first time the side has played outside England’s top four divisions for 100 years with The Valiants last playing Non-League football in 1919.

Port Vale’s recent form – LDWWD

Port Vale have enjoyed somewhat of a renaissance of form over the past few weeks with the Valiants picking up 8 points in their last 6 games which has allowed Port Vale to create a sizable gap between them and the bottom two. However, Vale’s home form has been horrific with the Staffordshire based side only winning 2 of their last 8 home games.

Port Vale’s final 8 games

Forest Green Rovers (H) 23/03/2019

Northampton Town (A) 30/03/2019

Crewe Alexandra (H) 06/04/2019

Exeter City (A) 13/04/2019

Stevenage (H) 19/04/2019

MK Dons (A) 22/04/2019

Macclesfield Town (H) 27/04/2019

Bury (A) 04/05/2019

Vale have a gruelling final 8 games to play, with 7 out of the 8 still having something to play for. However, if Vale can put together a successful run in, the Valiants should secure their Football League status.

19. Morecambe

Morecambe appear to have retained their Football League status for 12 seasons in a row and have the astute guidance of Jim Bentley to thank for that. However, the Red and White army still could get sucked into a relegation dogfight if the Shrimps fail to pick up points in their final 8 games.  

Morecambe’s recent form – LLWDD

Morecambe’s resurgence of form has seen the Seasiders pull away from the bottom two with the Shrimps now having a 9 point gap between them and 23rd placed Macclesfield Town. Morecambe have picked three wins in their last six league games ranking them as one of the inform sides in League Two. Morecambe in recent weeks has picked up impressive results against MK Dons and playoff-chasing Forest Green.

Morecambe’s final 8 games

Swindon Town (A) 23/03/2019

Crawley Town (H) 30/03/2019

Macclesfield Town (A) 06/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 13/04/2019

Mansfield Town (A) 19/04/2019

Cheltenham Town (H) 22/04/2019

Cambridge United (A) 27/04/2019

Newport County (H) 04/05/2019

The Shrimps on paper appear to have one of the easier run-ins with the Red and White army only facing two teams in the top half of the table. The rest of Morecambe fixtures are against mid-table sides and fellow relegation candidates. Arguably looking at Morecambe’s final run in it is safe to predict that the Shrimps will be playing League Two football for a 13th straight season.

Who do you think will be relegated from League Two?

League 2 Promotion Race: a preview of the final 9 games

The League 2 promotion race heats up as with less than 10 games left to secure promotion to League One we here at 24/7 Football decided to take a look at the final 9 games for every team fighting for promotion.

1. Lincoln City

Lincoln City currently sit top of the table going into the final 9 games of the season. The Imps have  lead the way for the majority of the season and will be looking for a strong finish to secure their promotion to League One. The Imps last played in England’s third tier in 1999 and under the astute guidance of the Cowley brothers will be looking to play in League One for the first time this Century.

Lincoln’s recent form  – WDWWW

The Imps head into the final 9 games in impressive form with the Lincolnshire based side unbeaten in there last 14 League games. Lincoln have also won three consecutive games in a row keeping a clean sheet in the last two. Lincoln also boast an impressive Home record with the Imps unbeaten in there last 15 games making Sincil Bank a fortress.

Lincoln’s final 9 games

Mansfield Town (A) 18/03/2019

Crawley Town (A) 23/03/2019

Macclesfield Town  (H) 30/03/2019

MK Dons (A) 06/04/2019

Cheltenham (H) 13/04/2019

Carlisle United (A) 19/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (H) 22/04/2019

Newport County (A) 27/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 04/05/2019

Lincoln’s final 9 games of the League campaign are a mixed bag of opponents with Lincoln having to face 5 of the top 8 teams in the division, 3 of which are away from Home. A long trip to Carlisle thrown in over the Easter weekend should be a deciding factor in Lincoln’s title hopes. The Imps also have to face bottom of the pile Macclesfield who could prove to be a challenging test depending on their predicament.

2.Bury

The Shakers currently sit second in the League 2 table 5 points behind leaders Lincoln. Bury have been one of League 2 most entertaining teams to watch this season with the Manchester-based side scoring 71 goals so far this season the third highest in all four divisions. The Shakers will be looking to maintain strong form into the final 9 games of the season to try and snatch the title away from Lincoln.

Bury’s recent form – WWWDW

Just like Lincoln, Bury come into the final 9 games in stupendous form with the Shakers unbeaten in there last 13 games with there last loss coming on Boxing day where Bury fell to a (2-1) defeat away at third-placed Mansfield Town. Bury haven’t failed to score in there last 12 league games with the Shakers last unable to find the back of the net away at Notts County.

Bury’s final 9 games

Cambridge United (H) 16/03/2019

Grimsby Town (A) 23/03/2019

Swindon Town (H) 30/03/2019

Carlisle United (A) 06/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 13/04/2019

Newport County (A) 19/04/2019

Northampton (H) 22/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 27/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 04/05/2019

Bury arguably have a much easier run in on paper than Lincoln, with the Shakers only having to play 3 of the top 7 clubs compared to Lincoln’s 5. However with 2 out of the three being away from home plus one of those being a long trip to Carlisle it could be an interesting final 9 games for Bury.

3.Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town currently occupies the third and final automatic promotion place. The Stags who have one of the biggest budgets in League Two haven’t played League One football since 2003. Mansfield currently have the best defence in League Two and the third best in the Football League.

Mansfield Town’s recent form – LWWLD

The Stags head into the final 9 games in a dip of form with the Nottinghamshire based side only winning 2 out of there last 6 games. Mansfield have also failed to pick up three points on the road in there last 5 away games. However, on the country, the Stags are unbeaten in there last 5 home games.

Mansfield’s final 9 games

Lincoln City (H) 16/03/2019

Crewe Alexandra (H) 23/03/2019

Exeter City (A) 30/03/2019

Northampton Town (H) 13/04/2019

Morecambe (H) 19/04/2019

Oldham Athletic (A) 22/04/2019

Stevenage (H) 27/04/2019

MK Dons (A) 04/05/2019

Mansfield just like Bury have to play 3 of the top 8 teams however the Stags have to play both Lincoln and Exeter in the next three games. After these games, the Stags have an easy run in playing multiple mid-table teams till a final day clash with fourth-placed MK Dons.

4.MK Dons

MK Dons currently sit just outside the League 2 automatic spots on goal difference as the Dons look for an immediate return to League One football. MK find themselves in League 2 for the first time since 2008 and are hoping that the suave and sophisticated Paul Tisdale can guide the club to promotion.

MK Dons recent form – WWWWL

The Dons head into the final 9 games in an upturn of form with MK winning 5 out of there last 6 games. However, MK have picked up strange results since the turn of the year with the Buckinghamshire based side losing (4-2) to 19th place Morecambe and a (1-0) defeat to Crewe at home.

MK Dons final 9 games

Stevenage (H) 16/03/2019

Yeovil Town (H) 23/03/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 30/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 13/04/2019

Notts County (A) 19/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 22/04/2019

Colchester United (A) 27/04/2019

Mansfield Town (H) 04/05/2019

The Dons have possibly one of the hardest runs of games to play out of the promotion-chasing teams facing 4 out of the top 7 and facing 3 teams who will be fighting for the survival in the Football League. After the Stevenage game this weekend every team MK play will be fighting for something arguably increasing the stakes in each of these games.

5.Tranmere Rovers

Newly promoted Tranmere Rovers are this year’s League Two surprise package with the Super White Army pushing for back to back promotions for the first time in there History. Under the guidance of experienced manager Micky Mellon, the Birkenhead based side have eased back into Football League life after a three year absence and are looking to make a return to League One football for the first time since 2014.

Tranmere Rovers recent form – WWWWW

Tranmere currently sits top of the charts for form with the Rovers picking up 19 points from there last 8 games. Tranmere also have a watertight defence with the Rovers only conceding 2 goals in there last 6 games.

Tranmere Rovers last 9 games

Oldham Athletic (A) 16/03/2019

Colchester United (A) 23/03/2019

Carlisle United (H) 30/03/2019

Newport County (A) 06/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 13/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (H) 19/04/2019

Lincoln City (A) 22/04/2019

Bury (H) 27/04/2019

Crawley Town (A) 04/05/2019

Talk about tough luck. Tranmere have to face 6 out of the top 7 teams in the division at the time of writing and face 4 out them in a row however with three of these being at home it could be a blessing in disguise to take points off the teams around them rather than rely on other results.

6.Forest Green Rovers

6th placed Forest Green Rovers are battling for a playoff spot and promotion to League One for the first time in their history. The Greenest team in the World currently are having their best season ever in the Football League and will hope it can continue.

Forest Green Rovers recent form – WLLLW

The Green Devils are currently in a sticky patch of form with Forest Green currently sat 22nd in the form table with the Gloucestershire based side picking up 7 points in there last 8 games. Forest Green have had indifferent results over the past few weeks with the Green Devils losing (3-0) to lowly placed Morecambe before beating playoff-chasing Colchester (3-0).

Forest Green Rovers last 9 games

Carlisle United (H) 16/03/2019

Port Vale (A) 23/03/2019

MK Dons (H) 30/03/2019

Crawley Town (A) 06/04/2019

Macclesfield (H) 13/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 19/04/2019

Cambridge United (H) 22/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 27/04/2019

Exeter City (H) 04/05/2019

Forest Green have a mixed run of games concluding the season with 4 games against teams in the top 10 with the other 5 games against teams in the mid to lower echelons of the table. If Forest Green can find there earlier season form that propelled them to their current position then the Green Devils could be playing League One football next season.

7.Colchester United

Occupying the final playoff spot at the time of writing are Colchester United. The U’s will be hoping that the third time’s the charm with the Essex based side narrowly missing out of the playoffs in the past two seasons.

Colchester United’s recent form – DDLWL

Colchester just like Forest Green Rovers have suffered in a did in form as the Essex based side have only managed 3 wins in there last 8 games. In Colchester’s last three games the U’s have scored 3 and conceded 6 goals with too heavy (3-0) defeats to playoff rivals Forest Green and mid tabled Swindon. Colchester’s home form has also seen a dip with the U’s only picking up 9 points in there last 8 home games at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester United’s last 9 games

Exeter City (A) 16/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (H) 23/03/2019

Cambridge United (A) 30/03/2019

Oldham Athletic (H) 06/04/2019

Bury (A) 12/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 19/04/2019

Yeovil Town (A) 22/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 27/04/2019

Lincoln City (A) 04/05/2019

Colchester have a mixed run in however face top 10 teams in spells of two bar the away match Vs Bury of the 12th of April. With a tough final three games, it could be another year that the U’s miss out of the playoffs.

8. Carlisle United

The first team on this list sat out of the Playoffs Carlisle are hoping they can sneak a playoff place and make it back to League One for the first time since 2014. Carlisle will also be looking to make it one step further than 2016/17 season where the Cumbria based side lost in the Playoff semi-final.

Carlisle United recent form – LDLWL

Carlisle have suffered a recent dip in form that has seen the side slip out of the playoffs with the Cumbrians only picking up 8 points in there last game ranking them 21st in the League 2 form table. However, Carlisle Home form over the past 8 games has been stupendous with the Cumbrians picking up 16 points in there last 8 home games.

Carlisle United last 9 games

Forest Green Rovers (A) 16/03/2019

Cambridge United (H) 23/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 30/03/2019

Bury (H) 06/04/2019

Stevenage (A) 13/04/2019

Lincoln City (H) 19/04/2019

Grimsby Town (A) 22/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 27/04/2019

Yeovil Town (A) 04/05/2019

Carlisle have to play 4 out of the top 7 clubs including first and second placed Lincoln and Bury however with both at home the Cumbrians will be hoping to gain positive results from both. Carlisle also appear to have an easy three final games to finish the season. However, a long away trip to Yeovil could be a tough trip especially depending on Yeovil’s predicament.

9. Exeter City

The team currently occupying 9th is Exeter City. Exeter still have a great chance of making the playoffs with the Grecians currently sitting 2 points of the playoffs and unlike the 8 teams above them, Exeter have 10 games left to play rather than 9. Exeter will be hoping to go one better than last year as the Grecians lost in the Playoff final to Coventry City.

Exeter City recent form – LWDLL

Exeter city have had a recent dip in form with the Grecians failing to pick up a win in there last three games. Furthermore, Exeter have only picked up 5 points out of there last 6 league games. The Grecians have also failed to keep a clean sheet in there last 6 games.

Exeter City’s last 10 games

Colchester (H) 16/03/2019

Notts County (A) 23/03/2019

Mansfield Town (H) 30/03/2019

Cheltenham Town (A) 06/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 13/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 19/04/2019

Stevenage (A) 22/04/2019

Oldham Athletic (H) 27/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 04/05/2019

*Macclesfield (A) The game has yet to be rearranged.

Arguably Exeter City have one of the easiest final run-ins on paper out of the Playoff chasing teams with the Grecians only facing 3 top 7 teams and have a 5 game run in of playing mid-table sides so could easily pick up points and close the two-point gap.

Who Do you think will get promoted from League 2?

Written By Tom Langford

Twitter @tom_langford27

Checkatrade Trophy: Is The Format Working?

Last season the EFL brought in a new format for the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and really it hasn’t helped teams in lower leagues. The new format encourages teams in the Premier League and the Championship to submit an Under 21’s squad into the competition. So is this format still a good idea?

The final of last season’s Checkatrade trophy was between Coventry and Oxford and broke the attendance record for the competition with 74,434, but all of last season the attendance figures at games across the competition was still low, Peterborough United as an example had an attendance of 1696 at their game against Norwich Academy which is a 4,000 less then their average attendance last season.

Last season as well clubs got fined for not fielding full strength squads,  on the 16th November Luton Town and Portsmouth were fined £15,000 for breaching this rule for all three of their group games, whereas Bradford, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Millwall, Charlton, Peterborough, Sheffield United and Southend all got fined £3,000 and Fleetwood were fined £5,000. That doesn’t sound like a lot to big clubs but in lower levels it is a lot to those clubs.

The group format is a nice new addition to the competition but for me I think if you took out participation from the Under 21’s it would be a good competition for lower league clubs and will hopefully increase ticket sales for the clubs as that can help boost finances. They also need to remove the full strength squad rule as fining teams for putting different squads out isn’t fair on teams that need to make sure people in their team stay fit and get a chance to show what they’re worth.

*Feature image courtesy of EFL.com*