The EFL confirm whether Sunderland can face Newcastle United U21s in this season's EFL Trophy
However, the duo could face each other in the latter stages of the competition - as they did in the 2018/19 season.
The Black Cats are preparing to enter the competition – previously known as the Checkatrade Trophy and Leasing.com Trophy - for the third successive season.
Under Jack Ross, the club reached the final in 2019 before exiting the competition at the group stage last season.
And with the 2020/21 edition of the competition set to begin on September 8, the draw for the group stage will be made on Tuesday, August 18 at 1:30pm.
Sunderland could draw any of the Northern sides in the competition, including one of the invited academy teams from the Premier League and Championship.
But they won’t be paired with their bitter local rivals.
Newcastle United will once again be entering an under-21 team into the tournament, but the EFL have confirmed to The Echo that the Black Cats and the Magpies will be kept apart in the group stage.
But once the tournament progresses into the knockout stage, the duo could be paired together – as they were in 2019 when the Black Cats ran out 4-0 winners.
This has been the norm since Sunderland’s relegation to League One, with the league citing ‘safety reasons’ for their decision.
Similarly, Portsmouth will not be able to face Southampton in the group stage and nor can Ipswich Town face Norwich City.