Amendments made to the youth fixture formatThe start of the 2016/17 campaign sees the launch of the ‘Premier League 2’ competition, in which Reading’s youth side will compete.
The Premier League 2 replaces the Barclays U21 Premier League, with a number of changes to its format for the coming season – most notably that it will now be for players aged 23 and under.
Like the U21 Premier League previously, teams competing in the Premier League 2 will be able to name up to three ‘over-age’ outfield players and one goalkeeper on the teamsheet for each match.
And once again there will be two divisions, each comprising of 12 teams; we will play the other 11 home and away, and the fixture calendar is now due to offer matches on a more consistent basis rather than having lengthy spells between some fixtures.
After our U21s put together a strong showing in the top flight last year, our boys will compete in the Premier League 2 Division 1 – battling out with some of the strongest talent from the likes of Man City, Man United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton. Madejski Stadium is scheduled to once again host some of the home fixtures, as well as Adams Park in Wycombe and some behind-closed-doors at Hogwood Park training ground.
There will be no play-off to decide the Division 1 title in 2016/17, and there will now be two relegation places for the bottom two clubs in the top tier.
After our Academy retained Category 1 status this summer and with the U21s finishing last season in ninth in the U21 Premier League, the Royals’ youth side will be looking to build on an impressive 2015/16 in the coming campaign.
The U21s finished last season level on points with Tottenham and ahead of the likes of Leicester City and Middlesbrough, so let’s hope that Martin Kuhl’s youngsters will keep moving forward in the new Premier League 2 format!
Keep your eyes peeled on readingfc.co.uk in the coming days for our Premier League 2 fixture list, as well as more information about the cup competitions that this squad will compete in during the new campaign.