With us having to endure a few weeks without any domestic football in England, we can now turn our attention back to the new season, after the Capital One Cup draw for the first round was made this afternoon.
The first round of games will take place on the week beginning August 5th, meaning we don’t have much longer to wait. Harry Redknapp’s newly relegated side, QPR, will be given the opportunity to acclimatise to lower league football with a trip to League Two side Exeter. This should be an easy game for the West London club, although with the attitude of many players a huge concern for the manager, Exeter might be about to dish out a first round upset.
Newly-promoted Newport, who have spent 25 years outside of the football league, will make the three hour journey to face Championship side Brighton. Whilst Brighton may approach the game as favourites, given the difference in their league position, Brighton are currently without their manager, Gus Poyet, who has been suspended. The outspoken manager, who recently defended Luis Suarez for racially abusing Patrice Evra, was suspended after a confrontation with the Championship club’s owners, with the local newspaper, The Argus, claiming Poyet, who is under contract until 2016, had declined to deal with the retained list because he could be about to leave.
Last season’s finalists Bradford, who lost to Swansea in the final, will make the short jaunt along the M62 to take on West Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield. The two sides last played each other in the 2011 Johnstones Paint Trophy which Bradford won on penalties.
Simon Grayson took on the Preston North End job with a few months left to play last season and managed to secure their safety in League One with four games left to play. For the first round, he will return to Blackpool, the club he made over 150 appearances for when he was a player and who he also managed for three years.
The winners of these games could face Premier League opposition in the next round, although the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Wigan and holders Swansea will be waiting for them in the third round. Historically, whilst United and Chelsea have both won the competition in recent years, they tend to prioritise winning the Premier League. Freebets.com reckon United are still favourites to win the title in 2013-2014 (2/1), followed by City (11/5) then Chelsea (9/4).
Draw in full
Bury v Crewe Alexandra
Shrewsbury Town v Bolton Wanderers
Middlesbrough v Accrington Stanley
Doncaster Rovers v Rochdale
Preston North End v Blackpool
Barnsley v Scunthorpe United
Tranmere Rovers v Mansfield Town
York City v Burnley
Notts County v Fleetwood Town
Sheffield United v Burton Albion
Oldham Athletic v Derby County
Carlisle United v Blackburn Rovers
Morecambe v Wolverhampton Wanderers
Nottingham Forest v Hartlepool United
Leeds United v Chesterfield
Huddersfield Town v Bradford City
Rotherham United v Sheffield Wednesday
Port Vale v Walsall
Gillingham v Bristol City
AFC Bournemouth v Portsmouth
Wycombe Wanderers v Leicester City
Brentford v Dagenham and Redbridge
Exeter City v Queens Park Rangers
Charlton Athletic v Oxford United
Southend United v Yeovil Town
Millwall v AFC Wimbledon
Swindon Town v Torquay United
Birmingham City v Plymouth Argyle
Stevenage v Ipswich Town
Cheltenham Town v Crawley Town
Bristol Rovers v Watford
Northampton Town v Milton Keynes Dons
Leyton Orient v Coventry City
Colchester United v Peterborough United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Newport County