A look ahead to our Bristol Rovers visitTuesday evening marks the opening fixture of our EFL Trophy campaign, which has taken on a new format for the 2016/17 season.
In addition to the 48 teams from Leagues 1 and 2, 16 clubs with Category 1 Academies – Reading included – are also in this year’s competition, which takes on a group format before going to a knock-out stage.
Martin Kuhl will take a young Royals squad tonight – which, according to Checkatrade Trophy rules, must include six Under-21 players in the starting XI – to the Memorial Stadium in search of three points, with a visit to Portsmouth’s Fratton Park to follow before a home tie with Yeovil Town.
Rovers have had something of a strange build-up to this game – their last outing came against Swindon on Saturday, but a torrential downpour in Wiltshire saw the game abandoned with half an hour to spare – a rarity in August.
But before that the League 1 club were only narrowly beaten by Chelsea in the EFL Cup – 3-2 was the final score at Stamford Bridge, having beaten Cardiff in extra time in the previous round.
The Pirates are twice runners-up in this competition historically – both of their final defeats have come to other ‘Rovers’. Tranmere were winning finalists at Wembley in 1990 thanks to Jim Steel’s winner, while Doncaster took the prize at the Millennium Stadium in 2007 when Graeme Lee netted an extra-time winner.
All entry should be paid on arrival, cash only for away supporters – entry is £5 Adults and £1 Concessions for this match.
For full ticketing information, click here.
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