Reading to face Stoke, Birmingham and Sheffield United in group stage of the U23 Premier League Cup…The Reading U23s have drawn Stoke City, Birmingham City and Sheffield United in the opening stage of the new look Premier League Cup, with the competition changing its format for the 2016-17 season from an U21 to an U23s tournament.
The competition will be in a ‘Champions League’ style layout with a group stage followed by a Round of 16 knockout for the top two teams who progress from each group.
Reading’s opening game of the Premier League Cup group stage will be at home against the Blues, with the match taking place between the 30th of September and the 3rd of October. The knockout stages of the tournament will commence from the 17th March 2017.
The Royals - who were inaugural winners of the Premier League Cup back in 2013-14 beating Manchester City 4-3 on aggregate in the final - will play each of their group stage opponent’s home and away as they bid qualify from Group H as they attempt to win the competition for the second time.
The Royals’ highest ranked opponents in the group phase will be Stoke, with the Potters currently sitting 11th in Premier League 2 Division Two after three games in the league.
Reading will be favourites to progress to the knockouts after their impressive start to the league campaign, sitting three points off the top the table in Division One with wins over Arsenal and Manchester City to their name.
For more information on the Premier League Cup and a full breakdown on the tournament click here
Premier League Cup Group Stage:
Group A: Southampton, Newcastle United, Swansea City, Bristol City
Group B: Sunderland, Cardiff City, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley or Watford
Group C: Manchester City, Colchester United, Derby County, Hull City
Group D: Everton, Norwich City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Portsmouth or Barnsley
Group E: Leicester City, Brighton & Hove Albion, West Ham United, Nottingham Forest
Group F: Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic, Fulham, AFC Wimbledon
Group G: Liverpool, Huddersfield Town, West Bromwich Albion, Ipswich Town
Group H: Reading, Sheffield United, Stoke City, Birmingham City