16 category one academy sides will take part in the competition again.
Brighton & Hove Albion's under-23s side are hoping they'll get a second season in the EFL Trophy in one of the 16 invitational places, open to category one academy clubs.
The invites are issued to category one academy clubs, in order of the final position of their first-team in the league table.
Last season, Albion were invited based on their third-placed finish in the Championship, and club bosses are hopeful that a second-placed finish will be enough to secure an invite.
As runners-up, Albion will be 19th in the invitation list behind the 17 Premier League clubs who secure their status, and Newcastle United.
Simon Rusk’s side enjoyed a successful first foray in the tournament, reaching the third round after beating the likes of AFC Wimbledon and Leyton Orient.
The key format changes for next season’s competition are below:
- EFL team selection criteria to allow increased flexibility to League One and League Two clubs;
- An increase in the total competition to £3 million;
- Each group will continue to contain one invited under-21 team with the remainder made up of EFL clubs from either League One or League Two. Groups will be formed to minimise overall travel time for EFL clubs and fans;
- Invited under-21 teams will play their group games away from home;
- Regionalisation until the quarter-final stage (improved from round two in 2016/17) to minimise overall travel time for clubs and fans;
- Flexibility of fixture dates to allow teams to schedule games outside of international weeks;
As part of the proposals, the selection criteria for invited under-21 players will remain as ‘six players from the starting 11 must be under the age of 21 as at 30th June 2017.
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said, “The history of the EFL Trophy is one of new ideas and innovation, but at its heart has always been the belief that this is an opportunity for League One and League Two clubs to taste cup success.
“I am therefore delighted to see the backing the Checkatrade Trophy has received from our clubs for the next two seasons, following a full and comprehensive review of this year’s pilot format.”
"We wanted to ensure that League One and League Two clubs had the opportunity to make key decisions regarding where we take the competition in 2017/18 and beyond, and I believe we have reached a revised format that benefits all parties."
Albion will find out if they are one of the 16 invited clubs next month, with the group stage draw set to take place in July.