Aston Villa U21's will face Tranmere Rovers, Bury and Salford after being drawn into Group C of the EFL Trophy. Villa will feature in the Northern section of the draw.
Formerly known as the Checkatrade Trophy, the competition has come in for heavy criticism in the past few years due to the introduction of Premier League (and Championship) U21 teams. Previously, the competition exclusively featured English Football League One and Two teams, as a chance for 'lower league' clubs to compete for silverware.
It is Villa's first entry into the competition in it's modern format. Games will be played from the second of September, early in the season.
Villa's competition are among the high-profile teams in the competition - for a number of reasons. Media darlings Salford have enjoyed a well-publicised ascent to the Football League and will enjoy their first season in the EFL. Bury have endured a number of traumatic financial issues that have left the club on the brink. People's champs Tranmere Rovers have leapt back into the EFL scene with two quick-fire promotions to jump into League One.
It'll be a tough ask for the youngsters to progress, and this is a new horizon for Aston Villa.