Date: 7th July 2017 at 2:30pm
Written by:

Latics have drawn Blackpool, Accrington Stanley and an as-yet unnamed Category One U21 side in the Checkatrade Trophy Group Stage.

‘Waitaminute there, what’s the Checkatrade Trophy when it’s at ‘ome?’

It’s the Football League Trophy, formerly known as the Freight Rover Trophy, Auto Windscreens Shield and Microsoft Paint Trophy. Well, maybe I made the last one up, but this is the EFL trophy contested by teams in League One and League Two.

‘Ah right. But what’s all this about U21 sides?’

To be fair, things have changed a bit since Latics last played in this competition. As of 2016, it was expanded to include Premier League and Championship B teams.

‘Oh my, what a very strange thing to do. So who are these B teams?’

Here is the full list of academies invited to take part: Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Leicester City, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Reading, Southampton, Stoke City, Sunderland, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United.

The following U21 teams can be drawn with Latics in Group B: Everton, Leicester City, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Stoke City, Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.

‘Ah! So when will we know who that U21 team might be?’

Wednesday 12 July. That’s also the date when fixtures will be confirmed.

‘Why can’t Latics U21 compete in this?’

Because Stone Cold said so. I have no doubt that Latics will one day have a Category One U21 side, but until that day they will be unable to play in the MSPaint Trophy.

‘Oh, so you’re some sort of expert, then?’

Heck no.