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Linfield and Cliftonville will chase SPFL Trust Trophy success


David Healy's Linfield will join Cliftonville in the SPFL Trust Trophy

David Healy's Linfield will join Cliftonville in the SPFL Trust Trophy

David Healy's Linfield will join Cliftonville in the SPFL Trust Trophy

Linfield and Cliftonville have confirmed their participation in this season’s SPFL Trust Trophy.

The Irish League giants will feature in a 53-team knockout competition comprising Scottish Premiership B sides and clubs from Scotland’s Championship, League One, League Two, Highland and Lowland Leagues as well as Welsh representatives The New Saints and Caernarfon Town.

Last season’s Premiership champions Linfield and runners-up Cliftonville will join the series in the third round, fixtures for which are currently scheduled for the weekend of September 24/25, meaning the Danske Bank Premiership match with the Blues at Windsor Park is likely to be rearranged.

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.

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, said: “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.

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“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.”

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