A SECTION of Oxford United’s support intend to boycott the EFL Trophy, despite being handed a trip to Stamford Bridge and a derby with Swindon Town in the group stage.

Southern Group C was completed by Exeter City, who will visit the Kassam Stadium for the opening game next month.

A first visit to Chelsea since 1999 and a clash with Swindon would normally be welcomed, but the competition has been under fire since the plans were unveiled in June.

The group stage is part of a controversial new format, which the U’s approved at the Football League’s AGM in a bid to revive the flagging competition, formerly known as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

The inclusion of academy sides is the main source of complaint – and in a poll on the Oxford Mail’s website yesterday two-thirds of those who took part said they would boycott the whole competition.

Another 15 per cent plan to avoid games against academy sides, while only one in five intend to attend.

U’s boss Michael Appleton also admitted he was not a fan of allowing the reserve sides in.

He said: “I don’t think it’s a good idea and it’s certainly wouldn’t be something I would be looking to do if I was in charge of it all.”

Half a dozen clubs with the highest-rated academies declined invited to take part.

Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur were all missing from the draw.



w/c August 29: Exeter City (H)

w/c October 3: Swindon Tn (a)

w/c November 7: Chelsea (a)