As many fans will be aware of by now, this competition has undergone a significant overhaul since last season.
For the first time in the Trophy’s history, 16 Category One academies will compete alongside League One and League Two sides.
‘Category One’ sides are those from the Premier League and the Championship. The names of those invited clubs includes Leicester City, Southampton, West Ham United, Chelsea, Everton and Tuesday's opponents Stoke.
A total of 64 clubs will compete in the competition beginning with 16 groups of four teams, each of which will include at least one club from each of Leagues One and Two, along with one ‘invited’ Category 1 team.
The top two sides in each group will then go into a knockout stage that will culminate in a showpiece final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 2nd April.
This year's format is being implemented on a trial basis, with the competition due to be reviewed again at the end of the season.
- The Bantams are in one of 16 four-team groups for the competition.
- Each group has an invited Category One academy along with at least one League One and League Two side (group draws have been regionalised).
- , either at home or away.once each Bradford City will play their three group opponents
- The top two teams from each group will progress to the knock-out stage of the competition.
- Should two or more teams finish the group stage on the same points, they will be separated by goal difference and then goals scored if required.
- Each group winner will play at home to a group runner-up in round two (which will also be regional).
The Trophy’s prominent rules
- Three points will be awarded for each win, one point for a draw.
- Should any group game finish level after 90 minutes, the match will go straight to penalties. The winner of the penalty shoot-out will be awarded an extra point (on top of the point they will have received for drawing the game).
- All League One and League Two sides MUST field at least five players from the starting XI which began their previous league game OR five out of their top eleven appearance makers so far this season.
- field at least six players out of their starting XI who were aged under 21 by 30 June 2016.MUSTEach invited Category 1 club
- Teams can name up to seven substitutes for each match but only a maximum of three can be used throughout the course of the game.
- The Trophy will be treat as a stand-alone competition for disciplinary matters. This means that any suspensions picked up through yellow cards and red cards collected in the Checkatrade Trophy will be served out in the trophy itself. For example, should a player be sent off in a Checkatrade Trophy match, they will serve out the suspension in their next Checkatrade Trophy match, NOT the next league game.
Stuart McCall’s Bantams have been drawn in Northern Group C in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy, alongside Stoke, Morecambe and fellow League One side Bury.
City’s group fixtures in the competition are:
Tuesday 30 August 2016 – Stoke City (H) – 7:45pm – Northern Commercials Stadium
Tuesday 4 October 2016 – Bury (H) – 7:45pm – Northern Commercials Stadium
Tuesday 8 November 2016 – Morecambe (A) – 7:45pm – Globe Arena