EFL make big Sunderland and Newcastle United call ahead of Papa John's Trophy group stage draw
Sunderland could face Newcastle United’s under-21 side in the Papa John’s Trophy group stages this season
The two sides will both be in the draw for the opening stage of the competition when it takes place live on Sky Sports on Thursday, June 24 at 4:30pm.
In previous years, the two clubs have been kept apart during the group stages of the competition – but have been able to meet in the knockout stages of the competition, as they did in 2019.
But the EFL have told The Echo that there will be no restrictions on the group stage draw this season, meaning that the two sides could hypothetically meet in the group stages of the competition this season.
Sunderland could also face newly-promoted Hartlepool United as they prepare for life back in the EFL.
The league say that groupings for the competition will be considered in order ‘to ensure travel time is minimised and recovery time is maximised for players.’