Squad selections, extra time and FOUR substitutes: The Checkatrade Trophy final rules Sunderland and Portsmouth must know
Sunderland are just one day away from their trip to Wembley - and Jack Ross will be preparing his squad for the big day.
But when Ross names his squad for the Checkatrade Trophy final against Portsmouth, there are some rules he must take into consideration.
These could affect his squad selection and plans for the big day, as the Black Cats look to bring the silverware back to Wearside.
Here's everything you need to know about the rules that will govern Sunderland and Pompey on Sunday afternoon:
How many first team players need to play in the Checkatrade Trophy?
There are some stringent squad selection rules for the Checkatrade Trophy final, although they shouldn’t affect Sunderland too much.
Ross will simply need to name a minimum of four ‘qualifying players’ in his ten starting outfield players - the same rule which has applied throughout the competition.
For the game against Portsmouth, a ‘qualifying player’ is a player will anyone who: started the game against Walsall a fortnight ago; or goes on to start the game against Accrington on Wednesday evening; or is one of Sunderland’s top ten appearance makers this season; or who has made over 40 first team appearances during their career; or is on loan from a Premier League club or an EFL club operating a category one academy.
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Most of Sunderland’s first team players will tick at least one of those boxes, meaning that Ross should have no problems with fulfilling this criteria.
In terms of his goalkeeper, Ross has free reign so could hand a start to Robbin Ruiter or Max Stryjek - although he is expected to keep faith with Jon McLaughlin.
Is there extra time in the Checkatrade Trophy final?
Yes. While most games in the competition go straight to penalties if the scores are level after 90 minutes, the final will see a period of 30 minutes of extra time played should Sunderland and Portsmouth be unable to separated in normal time.
Penalties will then follow should the scores remain level.
Can teams use a fourth substitute in the Checkatrade Trophy final?
Yes - as has been trialled in other competitions this season, Sunderland and Portsmouth will be able to use a fourth substitute should the game go to extra time.
Ross, therefore, could be able to benefit from an additional option should the game be hanging in the balance.