Checkatrade Trophy: Walsall, Burton Albion, & Port Vale Placed in Northern Group E

It has been confirmed that the draw for Round One of this season's Checkatrade Trophy will take place on Wednesday, 18th July, and could see the Saddlers drawn against some tough competition.
We now know that Dean Keates' Saddlers will be in 'Northern Group E' along with Burton Albion, Port Vale and a yet to be confirmed invited U21 team, which will be determined at next week's draw.

As the Saddlers are in the Northern section they, the Brewers and Valiants will be facing one of Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, or Wolverhampton Wanderers as they look to secure safe passage to Round Two.

Held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in central London, this season’s Round One draw will see the sixteen Invited U21 teams placed into their respective Northern and Southern section groups, with Arsenal the latest side to enter the competition.

The forty-eight EFL clubs have been placed into pre-determined groups, with consideration given to ensure travel time is minimised for supporters and recovery time is maximised for players.

In addition, if there is a situation where two teams meet in the Group Stages for a second successive season, then the club who was at home in 2017/18 will play away in 2018/19. All EFL clubs will play two of their three matches at home in the Group Stages.

Southampton U21s will be prevented from being drawn with Portsmouth, and Newcastle United 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.

The event, hosted by Sky Sports and talkSPORT presenter Jim White, will also see Accrington Stanley Chairman Andrew Holt, Southampton Technical Director Martin Hunter and England Under 19s Manager Keith Downing talk about their positive experiences in the competition.

The format for this year’s competition is much the same as 2017/18, with only a couple of small changes to the Regulations. Players from EFL clubs who are out on loan in the National League and below are now eligible to feature in the competition, while invited teams have been restricted to fielding two players over the age of 21 and more than 40 first-team appearances.

Former Trophy winner Gregor Robertson will help conduct the draw, which will take place from 1pm with details shared via the EFL’s social media channels and on Twitter via the @CheckatradeTrpy account.
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