EFL Trophy: £10,000 per win for Hartlepool United

Pools boss Craig Hignett will face a Premier League and League One club in EFL Trophy. Picture: JOE SPENCE

Pools boss Craig Hignett will face a Premier League and League One club in EFL Trophy. Picture: JOE SPENCE

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Hartlepool United face a wait to have some ‘meat put on the bones’ of the EFL Trophy – but the body is starting to come together.

SportMail reported last month about the new look to what was the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy.

The addition of the Premier U21 sides has caused much grumbling from fans from many lower league clubs

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The EFL trophy will still feature the clubs of Leagues One and Two but will now include 16 invited so-called category one Premier League academy teams.

Premier neighbours Middlesbrough and Sunderland are among those invitees, along with Newcastle, with the Black Cats already confirming they are in for this season’s tournament.

Initially, there will be 16 groups of four clubs, each of which will include at least one side from each of Leagues One and Two, along with one invited academy team.

Pools’ group could therefore incoporate Middlesbrough, Newcastle or Sunderland and, potentially, Bradford City,

The top two from each group go to the knockout stages with the final set for Wembley Stadium – where Pools have never played – on Sunday, April 2.

The addition of the Premier U21 sides has caused much grumbling from fans from many lower league clubs.

But the move comes following pressure from the Premier League though it also comes with a sugar coating.

Thanks to the generosity of the richest league in the world, the EFL Trophy has a £1.95million prize pot, including £10,000 per win and £5,000 per draw during the groups.

A couple of victories would not only take Pools into the last 32 but would pull in the not-so-small matter of 20 grand to the club’s coffers.

Invited Premier Academy sides: Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Leicester, Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Southampton, Stoke, Sunderland, Swansea, Tottenham, West Brom, West Ham.

Group Stage: Clubs to play each other once, either home or away. Invited clubs will play one home game at the club’s First Team stadium.

Points: Three points awarded for a win and one point for a draw. In the event of a drawn game after 90 minutes, a penalty shootout will be held with the winning team earning an additional point.

Group Stage dates: w/c August 29, October 3, November 7

Round 2: w/c December 5

Round 3: w/c January 9

Round 4: w/c January 23

Semi-Final: w/c February 20

Final: Sunday April 2