READING FC will compete against Colchester United, Gillingham and Southend United in next season's Checkatrade Trophy.

The four teams make up the Southern Section's Group B after the draw was made earlier this week.

Royals were one of 16 clubs invited to enter an Under 21s side into the competition by virtue of their Academy Category One status.

They will now come up against League One duo Gillingham and Southend as well as Colchester United from League Two.

This year's Checkatrade Trophy welcomes newcomers Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Newcastle United and Fulham, while Chelsea have also confirmed their involvement.

They will be joined by another 11 other Premier League Under 21 sides plus four from the Championship – Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Reading.

Reading got through the group stages last season having been drawn against Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth and Yeovil Town.

They also defeated Southampton in the next round but eventually bowed out when they lost at Yeovil at the last-16 stage.

All invited Under 21 teams this season must contain six players aged under 21 in the starting XI.