Newcastle United U21s handed decent EFL Trophy draw – although it'll involve a lot of travel
Newcastle United’s Under-21s will face three lengthy trips in the EFL Trophy group stage this season after being drawn in Group D.
League Two sides Macclesfield Town and Port Vale, as well as League One outfit Shrewsbury Town, will be the Magpies’ opponents.
The Magpies’ reserve side were eliminated at the last-16 stage by Sunderland’s first team last term at the Stadium of Light in January, before the Black Cats went on to lose in the final to Portsmouth on penalties.
Ben Dawson’s reserves advanced out of a group containing Doncaster Rovers, Grimsby Town and Notts County, before defeating Macclesfield on penalties at St James’ Park in the first knock-out round, only to lose 4-0 to Sunderland’s first team on Wearside.
But new Under-23 coach Neil Redfearn – who, alongside Dawson, is currently overseeing first-team training and is set to head out to China for the Premier League Asia Trophy – will be tasked with attempting to take Newcastle out of the group again in 2019/20.
The groups have been regionalised into ‘northern’ and ‘southern’ teams, but Newcastle’s reserves must travel to Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire, meaning the journeys will hardly be short.
However, given that two of their three opponents are fourth-tier sides – including Sol Campbell’s Macclesfield, who Newcastle knocked out last season – then the Magpies will fancy their chances of progressing.
Here is the draw in full:
Grimsby Town; Scunthorpe United; Sunderland; Leicester City
Accrington Stanley; Oldham Athletic; Fleetwood Town; Liverpool
Bury; Salford City; Tranmere Rovers; Aston Villa
Port Vale; Shrewsbury; Macclesfield Town; Newcastle United
Crewe Alexandra; Burton Albion; Mansfield Town; Everton
Bolton Wanderers; Bradford City; Rochdale; Manchester City
Blackpool; Carlisle United; Morecambe; Wolves
Doncaster Rovers; Rotherham United; Lincoln City; Manchester United
Gillingham; Colchester United; Ipswich Town; Tottenham Hotspur
Crawley Town; Portsmouth; Oxford United; Norwich City
Leyton Orient; AFC Wimbledon; Southend United; Brighton and Hove Albion
Coventry City; Forest Green Rovers; Walsall; Southampton
Exeter City; Cheltenham Town; Newport County; West Ham
Swindon Town; Bristol Rovers; Plymouth Argyle; Chelsea
Stevenage; Milton Keynes Dons; Wycombe Wanderers; Fulham
Peterborough United; Cambridge United; Northampton Town; Arsenal