Papa John's Trophy 2022/23: Format, fixtures, results, teams & dates for 2022/23 competition

Euan Burns
The final of the Papa John's Trophy is held at Wembley
The final of the Papa John's Trophy is held at Wembley / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

The Papa John's Trophy represents the best chance of a trip to Wembley and some silverware for lots of clubs in English football. It used to be known as the EFL Trophy before the sponsorship led to a name change.

Despite that, it is treated with a certain amount of derision due to the inclusion of Premier League U21 sides. Rotherham are the current holders but 64 teams will compete to reach the final at Wembley on Sunday, March 19, 2023.

Papa John's Trophy 2022/23 teams

The Papa John's Trophy is contested each year by teams from League One, League Two, and some invited academy teams from the Premier League and the Championship.

Many fans of League One and League Two clubs do not like the fact that academy teams from bigger clubs play in the tournament as the teams can occasionally feature players well above the level of the tournament, whilst also not providing a proper cup spectacle.

To avoid playing overly weak lineups in the tournament, EFL clubs must field four players that meet the following requirements:

  • Any player who started the previous or following first-team fixture
  • Any player who is in the top 10 players at the club who have made the most starting appearances in league and domestic cup competitions that season
  • Any player with 40 or more first-team appearances in their career
  • Any player on loan from a Premier League club or any EFL 'Category One' Academy club
  • A club can play any eligible goalkeeper in the competition

League One sides

  • Plymouth Argyle
  • Ipswich Town
  • Sheffield Wednesday
  • Peterborough United
  • Portsmouth
  • Bolton Wanderers
  • Derby County
  • Barnsley
  • Charlton Athletic
  • Shrewsbury Town
  • Port Vale
  • Exeter City
  • Wycombe Wanderers
  • Lincoln City
  • Fleetwood Town
  • Oxford United
  • Bristol Rovers
  • Cambridge United
  • Cheltenham Town
  • Accrington Stanley
  • MK Dons
  • Morecambe
  • Forest Green Rovers
  • Burton Albion

League Two teams

  • Leyton Orient
  • Stevenage
  • Northampton Town
  • Barrow
  • Bradford City
  • Swindon Town
  • Carlisle Town
  • Salford City
  • Mansfield Town
  • Tranmere Rovers
  • Doncaster Rovers
  • Walsall
  • Grimsby Town
  • Stockport County
  • AFC Wimbledon
  • Crewe Alexandra
  • Sutton United
  • Newport County
  • Rochdale
  • Crawley Town
  • Harrogate Town
  • Gillingham
  • Hartlepool United
  • Colchester United

Invited U21 sides

  • Arsenal U21
  • Aston Villa U21
  • Brighton U21
  • Chelsea U21
  • Crystal Palace U21
  • Everton U21
  • Leeds United U21
  • Leicester City U21
  • Liverpool U21
  • Manchester City U21
  • Manchester United U21
  • Newcastle United U21
  • Southampton U21
  • Tottenham U21
  • West Ham U21
  • Wolves U21
Rotherham United v Sutton United - Papa John's Trophy Final
Rotherham United beat Sutton United in the Papa John's Trophy final / Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Papa John's Trophy 2022/23 format

There is a geographical divide for the invited U21 teams who have been split into Northern and Southern sections with one U21 side in each group.

Overall there are four teams per group, meaning there are 16 groups. Teams play each other once and the U21 side is always away from home. It's three points for a win but if a game ends in a draw after 90 minutes, both teams get one point but there is still a penalty shootout for which the winner gets another point.

The top two teams in each group progress to the Round of 32 and the group winners are drawn against a group runner-up from the same region. The Round of 16 draw is unseeded but still regional.

From the quarter-final stage, there is no seeding or regional consideration which means those from the Northern section can face the Southern section teams.

The Papa John's Trophy will represent a chance to watch live football outside of League One and below during the World Cup as the first knockout round is on November 30 and the next is December 14.

The quarter-finals are set for January 11 and the semi-finals are on February 1. All Papa John's Trophy games are on iFollow but the semi-finals and final will be shown on Sky Sports Football and Sky Sports Main Event.

Papa John’s Trophy 2022/23 groups

Teams in bold have progressed to the Round of 32.

Northern Group A: Harrogate, Hartlepool, Morecambe, Everton U21

Northern Group B: Bolton, Crewe Alexandra, Tranmere, Leeds U21

Northern Group C: Port Vale, Shrewsbury, Stockport, Wolves U21

Northern Group D: Accrington Stanley, Rochdale, Salford, Liverpool U21

Northern Group E: Barnsley, Doncaster, Lincoln, Newcastle U21

Northern Group F: Derby, Grimsby, Mansfield, Man City U21

Northern Group G: Barrow, Carlisle, Fleetwood Town, Manchester United U21

Northern Group H: Bradford, Burton Albion, Sheffield Wednesday, Leicester U21

Southern Group A: Brighton, Charlton, Colchester United, Gillingham

Southern Group B: AFC Wimbledon, Crawley, Portsmouth, Aston Villa U21

Southern Group C: Cheltenham, MK Dons, Walsall, West Ham U21

Southern Group D: Peterborough, Stevenage, Wycombe, Tottenham U21

Southern Group E: Bristol Rovers, Crystal Palace U21, Plymouth, Swindon

Southern Group F: Exeter City, Forest Green Rovers, Newport County, Southampton U21

Southern Group G: Oxford United, Leyton Orient, Sutton, Chelsea U21

Southern Group H: Cambridge, Ipswich, Northampton Town, Arsenal U21

Papa John’s Trophy round of 32

Northern Section

  • 22 November 2022 - Burton Albion 1-1 (5–4 p) Tranmere Rovers
  • 22 November 2022 - Lincoln City 1-1 (4–3 p) Morecambe
  • 22 November 2022 - Wolverhampton Wanderers U21 0-0 (1–4 p) Manchester United U21
  • 22 November 2022 - Grimsby Town 0-1 Accrington Stanley
  • 22 November 2022 - Salford City 1-0 Bradford City
  • 22 November 2022 - Bolton Wanderers 3-2 Barrow
  • 23 November 2022 - Port Vale 2-1 Barnsley
  • 30 November 2022 - Everton U21 vs Mansfield Town

Southern Section

  • 22 November 2022 - Forest Green Rovers 1-1 (3–4 p) Cheltenham Town
  • 22 November 2022 - Milton Keynes Dons 3-1 Newport County
  • 22 November 2022 - Plymouth Argyle 3-2 Charlton Athletic
  • 22 November 2022 - Stevenage 3–2 Arsenal U21
  • 22 November 2022 - Peterborough United 2-4 Chelsea U21
  • 22 November 2022 - AFC Wimbledon 1-0 Sutton United
  • 22 November 2022 - Ipswich Town 0-2 Portsmouth
  • 23 November 2022 - Colchester United 1-2 Bristol Rovers

Papa John’s Trophy round of 16

The draw for the round of 16 in the Papa John's Trophy 2022/23 was held on 24 November 2022. The following games are due to take place the week commencing 12 December 2022.

Northern Section

  • December 2022 - Salford City vs Port Vale
  • December 2022 - Bolton Wanderers vs Manchester United U21
  • December 2022 - Lincoln City vs Everton U21 or Mansfield Town
  • December 2022 - Burton Albion vs Accrington Stanley

Southern Section

  • December 2022 - Portsmouth vs Stevenage
  • December 2022 - Cheltenham Town vs Chelsea U21
  • December 2022 - Bristol Rovers vs Milton Keynes Dons
  • December 2022 - Plymouth Argyle vs AFC Wimbledon