Linfield and Cliftonville to take part in SPFL Trust Trophy
Linfield and Cliftonville will take part in next season's SPFL Trust Trophy after the format for the competition was confirmed.
The SPFL announced the Danske Bank Premiership duo will be joined by The New Saints and Caernarfon Town, from the JD Cymru Premier in the tournament, which will feature 53 teams.
Four Lowland League clubs – Cowdenbeath, East Kilbride, The Spartans and East Stirlingshire – will again join the SPFL Trust Trophy first round, alongside Fraserburgh, Buckie Thistle, Brechin City and Brora Rangers from the Highland League.
The four cross-border clubs will join the competition in round three along with the 10 winners of the round two matches, the other eight cinch League One clubs, and the 10 cinch Championship clubs.
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Games will be played on the midweek of September 24/25.
Round four will take place the weekend of December 10/11, followed by the quarter-finals on weekend of January 7/8, the semi-finals on either the weekend of February 4/5 or midweek of February 7/8, before the final takes place on a provisional date of March 25/26.
Nicky Reid, SPFL Trust chief executive, told the SPFL Trust website: “The SPFL Trust are delighted to be able to sponsor the tournament for a second season, which is only possible with the generous support of our donors.
“Following the success of last year’s competition in highlighting the community programmes we deliver across the country, we hope to build on that this season.
“Alongside the matches taking place right up to the final, we hope this magnificent cross-border competition can continue to shine a light on the work being done by football clubs across the UK to serve their communities.”
Neil Doncaster, SPFL Chief Executive, said: “The involvement of cross-border teams helped reinvigorate the tournament when they were first introduced, and we believe the SPFL Trust Trophy will benefit from their return.”