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Checkatrade Fever: What happened next to the teams that managed EFL Trophy success at Wembley?

With a potential trip to Wembley only two games away for Sunderland AFC, we look at how EFL Trophy glory impacted recent winners following their respective successes.

Shrewsbury Town v Lincoln City - Checkatrade Trophy Final Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

2018 - Lincoln City

Last year’s winner came in the form of League Two side Lincoln City, as the Imps sprung a shock at Wembley and triumphed over Paul Hurst’s Shrewsbury Town.

But how did their domestic victory influence their league form across the season?

Well, despite eventually losing out in at the play-off stage, the Checkatrade Trophy run seemed to inject plenty of positivity into Danny Cowley’s side. Before their run to the final, Lincoln had sat mid-table in 10th place, but managed to drag themselves further up the league as the season progressed - interestingly they also avoided defeat in each league game following the knockout-phase.

This season they sit top of the League Two, however, perhaps proving that winning trophies can become a habit.

Shrewsbury Town v Lincoln City - Checkatrade Trophy Final
Lincoln won the trophy last year and currently sit top of League Two.
Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

2017 - Coventry City

The Sky Blues had a funny old season back in 2016/17 as - despite winning the Checkatrade Trophy - they coupled silverware with relegation.

Their EFL Trophy success was a little bit of an anomaly in an otherwise depressing season for the former Premier League side - they also managed to sift through three managers during the campaign.

Since relegation though, it’s been all quite positive for Coventry City. They returned to League One at the first time of asking via the League Two play-off’s and Checkatrade Trophy winning manager Mark Robins has continued to build on that success of last season, where they currently sit just outside the play-offs in eighth.

Coventry City v Exeter City - Sky Bet League Two Play Off Final
Mark Robin took the reigns at Coventry in March 2017 and won the EFL Trophy a month later.

2016 - Barnsley

Almost three years ago it was the turn of the Yorkshiremen to lift the EFL Trophy - or the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy as it was then known.

The Tykes impressive league form, coupled with their run domestically, meant they lost Manager Lee Johnson to Bristol City in the February of 2016; however, the impressive performance of Paul Heckingbottom as his replacement meant Barnsley continued their impressive form, winning promotion by defeating Millwall 3-1 at Wembley.

Following promotion, Heckingbottom managed to consolidate the Oakwell club in the Championship,and as his reputation flourished it wasn’t long before he was also poached as neighbours Leeds United offered him the role of Head Coach at Elland Road.

Barnsley suffered following the loss of another manager and plummeted back down into League One last year alongside ourselves and Burton Albion. They currently sit in fifth place in League One.

Barnsley v Millwall - Sky Bet League One Play Off Final
Barnsley went to Wembley twice in 2016 - winning both times.
Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

2015 - Bristol City

Almost four years ago Steve Cotterill’s Robins enjoyed a dominant season, winning League One by eight clear points and bagging themselves a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy winner’s medal on the way.

However, despite that success, former Sunderland assistant Cotterill was sacked only 257 days later with the team struggling in the Championship. His replacement was a man who won the Checktrade Trophy a year later - Lee Johnson - and he steered the club to safety, finishing in 18th place.

Since then, Johnson has stayed in charge of the club and established them firmly as a Championship outfit, finishing 11th last season and producing the likes of Bobby Reid and Joe Bryan along the way.

Bristol City v Walsall - Johnstone’s Paint Final
Bristol City have been fairly successful on the pitch since their EFL Trophy win in 2015.
Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images

And what of the rest?

2014 - Peterborough United

The Posh finished the season in sixth and were knocked out of the play-offs by third placed Leyton Orient. The following season was a disappointing one as they finished in ninth.

2013 - Crewe Alexandra

Alex spent the remainder of the 12/13 campaign bobbing around mid-table, but struggled in the seasons after. Escaping relegation by narrow margins before eventually dropping in League Two - where they still remain.

2012 - Chesterfield

A lot has changed for Chesterfield since they won the JPT in 2012. Although they were relegated to League Two in the same season, they managed to get back into the third tier within two seasons and also made it to the Championship, narrowly missing out in the League One play offs only three years ago. Since then though, things couldn’t have gone much worse.

Much like ourselves, a double relegation means they currently sit in the National League and - worse still - are on course for a THIRD successive relegation as they currently occupy one the relegation spots in the Conference. Grim.

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