The dates have been arranged for our Checkatrade Trophy fixtures, which take place in Group B of the Southern Section of the draw.
Earlier this month, we were paired against League 2 side Colchester United and League 1 clubs Southend United and Gillingham when the draw was made.
And as one of the 16 Category 1 Academy clubs invited into the competition, changes to this year’s format mean that this season all of our group games will be played away from home.
The age criteria for Category 1 Academies remains as per the pilot season 2016/17 (ie. six players within the squad must be Under-21). Last season, the players which we used in the Checkatrade Trophy largely overlapped our Under-23 squad, which played its league fixtures in Premier League 2.
Last year, we progressed from a group with Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth and Yeovil Town. In the second round we overcame Southampton – another of the Academy-entrants – via a penalty shoot-out at St Mary’s, before seeing our involvement ended in our second game against Yeovil, who defeated our 10 men at Huish Park.
The Premier League 2 fixtures were announced on Thursday, giving us an impression of where our Under-23s will be spending much of the coming season. With the added involvement of the Checkatrade Trophy – as well as the Premier League Cup and Premier League International Cup, which are yet to be drawn – we could potentially match the 40 competitive games played by our most senior youth team last season.
The dates for the three Group B fixtures in the Checkatrade Trophy are as follows:
Colchester United vs Reading U21 (Weston Homes Community Stadium)
Tuesday 29th August 2017, 7.30pm
Southend United vs Reading U21 (Roots Hall)
Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 7.45pm
Gillingham vs Reading U21 (Priestfield)
Tuesday 7th November 2017, 7.45pm
Ticket arrangements for all three games will be announced in due course.