Salford City make their debut in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday evening when Aston Villa Under-21s visit The Peninsula Stadium (KO 19:45).
The competition which is for League One, League Two and invited Premier League Under-21 sides provides clubs with a chance of a Wembley final.
First are the group stages, split into North and South, which each contain three league sides and one of the invited teams, who play all three fixtures away from home. The top two from each group proceed to Round Two with the group winners seeded, and the runners-up unseeded. Again the round is regionalised, as is Round Three, before the competition becomes national for Round Four (Quarter-Final) and beyond.
In the group stage a win is rewarded with three points, while a draw is rewarded with one point but in the event of a draw, both teams will take part in a penalty shoot out with the winner being awarded an extra point. Round Two onwards is knock out.
Following the unfortunate events up the road at Bury, our group will only consist of ourselves, Tranmere Rovers and Aston Villa Under-21s.
Villa travel to Tranmere in the next game week, before we visit Prenton Park on Tuesday 12th November.
Graham Alexander has previously reached the Semi-Final of the competition, in its previous format, with Fleetwood Town. He says that there will be changes, but it provides a good opportunity to have a look at the players we haven’t seen too much of yet.
“It’s Aston Villa, they’ve got good quality players throughout their team and it’ll be a tough game for us but it’s a game we’re looking forward to and I think it’s a good opportunity for some people to push their way into the thoughts of us for next Saturday.
“It’s always been a good competition this one, in the past I’ve pulled other players into the teams and it’s a good experience for them, it gives them the opportunity to show what they can do.
“That’s the good thing for me, we’ve got a good squad where there’s players we brought in in the summer who we haven’t had the opportunity to play, but now is there opportunity and if they’re serious about being a part of what we want to do here then Tuesday’s their opportunity.”