Dates finalised for Blackpool's group games in rebranded EFL Trophy

The EFL Trophy has been rebranded ahead of the new season
The EFL Trophy has been rebranded ahead of the new season
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The time and dates for Blackpool's three EFL Trophy group games have been finalised.

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The Seasiders will open their account in the competition by welcoming Morecambe to Bloomfield Road on Tuesday, September 3 (7.30pm kick off).

Simon Grayson's men will then make the trip north to face Carlisle United on Tuesday, October 15 (7.45pm kick off), before finishing the group stage with a home game against Wolves' Under-21 team on Tuesday, November 5 (also 7.45pm kick off).

Blackpool failed to progress beyond the group stage last season, finishing third - recording just the one victory.

A record crowd of 85,000 saw Portsmouth win the final, beating Sunderland on penalties as Wembley.

Formerly known as the Checkatrade Trophy, the much-maligned competition will now be known as the Leasing.com Trophy.

Last season’s competition was blighted by low crowds, with fans boycotting the competition over the inclusion of what they considered to be Premier League and Championship B teams.

This season, three League One and Two teams have been placed in the 16 four-team groups, alongside an under-21 team, in order to reduce overall travel time.

Leasing.com is a website which helps those looking to lease a new car find the best offers online.

The competition kicks off this week, with three matches taking place, as Manchester United U21s and Liverpool U21s make their debuts in the competition, with Group Stage games against Rotherham United and Oldham Athletic, respectively. Swindon Town host Chelsea U21s in the week's remaining fixture.

EFL chief commercial officer Ben Wright, said: "The EFL is delighted to welcome Leasing.com to our portfolio of partners at the League ahead of the start of what we all hope is another successful and memorable EFL Trophy campaign.

"With the revised format now firmly established, this competition continues to go from strength to strength and the EFL is looking forward to working with the Leasing.com team as we plot this season's journey to Wembley and move on to the next chapter of the EFL Trophy's history."

David Timmis, founder and MD of Leasing.com, added: "We're delighted and immensely proud to have secured sponsorship of the EFL Trophy as part of our ongoing brand development campaign for Leasing.com.

"We want Leasing.com to become a household name and what better way to achieve that than to sponsor one of the most high-profile tournaments in English football.

"Car leasing used to be viewed as something that was only available to businesses, but we want everyone to know that leasing a new car is a simple, affordable option that all drivers should consider.

"Over the last 20 years we've already helped more than a million people find their perfect car leasing deal: this sponsorship offers an ideal opportunity for us to help millions more 'Say goodbye to buying'.

"The EFL Trophy continues to grow every year and has huge potential, so it's a perfect partnership and we can't wait to get the ball rolling."