The participation of two English clubs in next season’s IRN-BRU Cup has been confirmed by the SPFL.
The announcement comes after the change of format introduced in 2016/17, which saw two teams each from Northern Ireland and Wales, additional clubs from the Highland and Lowland Leagues and all Ladbrokes Premiership under-20 Colt teams taking part, followed by the addition of two teams from the League of Ireland in season 2017/18.
Now, following Uefa approval, Sutton United and Boreham Wood – the highest-ranked Vanarama National League sides in 2017/18 still competing in the division – will join the Irish (Bohemians and Bray Wanderers), Northern Irish (Crusaders and Coleraine) and Welsh (The New Saints and Connah’s Quay Nomads) representatives at the second round stage of the competition.
The first round draw will take place on Tuesday June 26.
SPFL Chief Executive Neil Doncaster said: “The IRN-BRU Cup remains an innovative and evolving competition, and we are pleased to now extend a warm welcome to the National League and their representatives, Sutton United and Boreham Wood.
“We look forward to developing a positive relationship with our counterparts in England, just as we have with representatives from the leagues of Northern Ireland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland over the last two years.”
Bruce Elliott, Chairman of Sutton United, said: “We’re delighted to have been asked to compete in the IRN-BRU Cup. Both manager Paul Doswell and I are excited at taking part in a competition that is new for us, and gives us the chance to encounter new opposition and play against sides that we would not meet in our normal schedule. We are thoroughly looking forward to it.”
Manager of Boreham Wood, Luke Garrard, said: “I think that it will give the players an added incentive and I am extremely excited that we have the luxury of possibly travelling around the British Isles for a fixture, I think that it is a huge achievement.”
The Scottish Challenge Cup was established for season 1990/91 to mark the Scottish Football League’s centenary and has been run every year since (with the exception of 1998/99).