Sunderland must follow these Checkatrade Trophy rules as Jack Ross rings the changes
Jack Ross is set to make 'substantial' changes to his Sunderland side at Morecambe tomorrow evening - but he will have to ensure he follows the stringent Checkatrade Trophy rules.
The Black Cats will inevitably have to make changes for their final group stage game against the Shrimps after two games in the space of three days, while Ross may also be keen to see some of his fringe players in action.
But the Scot's selection will be somewhat dictated by the rules of the Checkatrade Trophy, which place restrictions on the strength of squads that EFL sides must play.
Sanctions are in place for those who fail to meet the criteria, making it vitally important that they are adhered to throughout the competition.
Here's everything you need to know about the Checkatrade Trophy squad selection rules ahead of Sunderland's trip to Morecambe:
What are the Checkatrade Trophy squad selection rules?
The competition rules state that Sunderland will have to play their 'Full Available Strength in and during all Matches' in the Checkatrade Trophy.
'Full Available Strength' means that the club has to ensure that at least four of its ten outfield players are classed as 'qualifying players'.
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There are no restrictions over the goalkeeper, meaning Jack Ross will be free to switch his choice between the sticks if he wishes.
What is a 'qualifying player' in the Checkatrade Trophy?
Players can hit several criteria to ensure they qualify as one of the four players Sunderland must include in their Checkatrade Trophy squad.
Any player who started at Port Vale on Sunday - or goes on to start against Wycombe next weekend - is classed as a qualifying player.
Furthermore, each of the Black Cats' top ten appearance makers during the season are also designated as qualifying players and as too are those on loan from a Premier League club - such as Jerome Sinclair.
Finally, any player who has made forty or more starting appearances in first team fixtures or international equivalents throughout their entire career also meets the criteria.
That means there are plenty of ways for Sunderland stars to hit the qualifying criteria, which means it should be easy for Ross to ensure he names a suitable squad to satisfy these rules.
What happens if clubs break the Checkatrade Trophy squad selection rules?
EFL regulations state that any club that breaches these rules will be subject to a fine of up to Â£5,000.