The group stage of the competition continues this week with a clutch of Premier League academy teams going head-to-head with EFL sides
The Papa John’s Trophy group stage continues this midweek.
Tonight sees just two matches take place, both intriguing ties that pit EFL sides against Premier League academies.
Sunderland welcome Manchester United’s youngsters in a re-arranged tie in what could be a tasty encounter. The Black Cats have made a fine start to this season but will be keen to retain the trophy they lifted at Wembley last year after overcoming Tranmere.
Sunderland only played their first game of this year’s competition last week, defeating Lincoln City.
As for United, they lost against the Imps in their first game before winning impressively at Bradford last time out.
Ahead of the game, here is all that you need to know.
Where and when is it?
The match is at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, October 13.
Kick-off is 7pm.
Can I watch it?
The game will be screened live on MUTV with build-up starting from 6.45pm.
Winners get three points for a win like normal, but if a game finishes level after 90 minutes, it goes to penalties.
The resulting winner then gets awarded two points with the loser picking up one point.
Sunderland are favourites to get the three points, with the hosts marked up at 4/7 with Skybet.
The visitors are priced at 7/2, with the game chalked up at 14/5 to finish a draw and head straight to spot-kicks.
Strict stipulations apply regarding team selections.
EFL clubs must have at least four ‘qualifying’ outfield players in their line-ups, with players having to meet requirements such as either having started the previous game or with 40 or more first-team appearances in their career.
However, Black Cats’ boss Lee Johnson has been vocal in his criticism of this fixture’s timing – during an international break when a clutch of his players are away.
He last week said the club would be willing to accept the £5,000 fine that comes with not picking at least four ‘qualifying’ players.
Johnson said: “I see it as a really good opportunity for some of the under-23s who have been performing quite well.
“You know the rules, you get fined if you don’t play four (qualifying players) – which is ridiculous, I think.”
As for United, several of their youngsters have been gearing up for this game by training with the first team at Carrington during the break.
The likes of Alvaro Fernandez, Dillon Hoogewerf, Joe Hugill and Charlie Savage have all stepped up to train with those first-team players not on international duty such as Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Donny van de Beek.
Under-23s boss Neil Wood is permitted to pick two players aged over 21, provided they have more than 40 senior games under their belt.