Blues' Under-21s and Under-18s fixtures announced

Blues' Under-21s and Under-18s fixtures announced

Blues’ Under-21s and Under-18s fixtures have been revealed for the upcoming 2022/23 Professional Development League (PDL) season.

Steve Spooner’s side kick-off their campaign with the visit of Millwall on Monday 22 August whilst the Under-18s, governed by Martyn Olorenshaw, travel to Queens Park Rangers two days earlier.

The Club has enjoyed recent success in the competition, lifting the trophy at Under-23s level in 2021, with the Under-18s reaching the Semi-Final stage in the same campaign.

Supporters will have noted the change in age parameters of the competition from Under-23 to Under-21, an amendment that will apply to all equivalent age group competitions across the Academy system, including the Premier League 2 and Professional Development League.

According to the Premier League, an Under-21 competition reflects the reality of the age of players in the competition, where the average age is 19, and better aligns with competitions internationally and other wider competitions such as the EFL Trophy.

There will be an initial increase in the number of over-age players permitted (five over-age outfield players and one over-age goalkeeper in Season 2022/23) to continue to provide opportunities for the best young players to play alongside and against older and more experienced players.

For clarity the player eligibility rules for Under-21 fixtures going forward are as follows:

• Open to players aged U16 to U21

• U21 is defined as players born or after 1 January in which the season commences (for Season 2022/23 players born on or after 1 January 2001)

• 5 overage outfield players and 1 overage GK permitted to be named on team sheet for the 2022/23 Season

• No upper age limit for overage players

• Minimum age for the competition is U16

All fixtures are subject to change