Date: 27th July 2016 at 3:00am
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The revamped Football League Trophy – the EFL Cup – will kick into life later today as not only will we finally get confirmation of the 16 Category One Academy sides that will take part in the competition, we also get the Group Stage Draw.

With it announced the other month that Premier League Category One Academy set ups would be invited into the competition this season on a trial basis – well it hasn’t exactly been plain sailing so far, as originally it was believed it would only be Premier League Under 21 sides plus Newcastle that were invited.

Plenty of press however reported that Manchester City had officially rejected the invitation, and it was further suggested the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United were also likely to decline the invite.

That opened up the possibility of the likes of Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Brighton, Derby, Norwich and Wolverhampton Wanderers being invited in as well.

And then it went very quiet indeed as clubs were supposed to have given a formal response by July 11 but the EFL Cup had turned into Fight Club and absolutely nobody was talking about it.

Thankfully it appears we will get a final answer today, as the Football League have confirmed that an announcement will be made at 9.30am today (Wednesday as if I needed to type that!) to state which sides had now accepted the invitations and would be taking up their place for this year’s trial.

Once the ‘will they, won’t they’ is out of the way, the Group Stage Draw will take place at 10am and it’s being conducted by Preston North End manager Simon Grayson, and League One and Two sides will discover which Category One club they are up against, along with their other opposition for the first stage of the competition this campaign.

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