Newcastle enter Checkatrade Trophy

Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez

Newcastle United will take part in the Checkatrade Trophy this season.

The club opted against entering the controversial competition last term.

But Newcastle have decided to enter an Under-21 team in 2017-18 following their promotion to the Premier League.

United have taken up an invite to play in the competition along with 15 other Premier League and Championship clubs.

They will take on 48 League One and Two sides.

The draw for the group stage, which will be regionalised, will take place next month.

The first round of fixtures are scheduled to take place on the week starting August 28.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: “I was delighted when EFL Clubs collectively backed the competition following a full and comprehensive review of last season’s pilot format, and we can see from the increasing interest from Category One Academies that the Checkatrade Trophy has genuine appeal.

“The competition provides a unique challenge to young players and seasoned professionals alike.

"I strongly believe players from League One and League Two clubs will look forward to taking on some of the country’s brightest prospects, who will themselves learn a lot from participating in a first team competition.

“I want to thank EFL Clubs and the Category One Academies for their support.

"I believe the balance of the competition should benefit all sides and will make for some intriguing matches when the Group Stages get under way in August.”

Coventry City won the Checkatrade Trophy last season.