On 9 June 2016, the newly rebranded English Football League (EFL) announced that the 2016–17 EFL Trophy competition would include sixteen "category 1 Premier League academy sides" for the first time. The first knockout round would also be replaced with a new group stage, the sixteen regional groups each to comprise three League One/Two teams plus an academy side, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the knockout second round.
Following the EFL's announcement of these format changes, many of the invited clubs declined to allow their academies to participate, and their places had to filled by the academy sides of several Championship clubs.
Together with Football League Clubs, the EFL is now considering what the future format of the Checkatrade Trophy should be. For Notts County fans, this is your opportunity to have a say on the matter, and we will make sure that your views are taken into account.