THE first round of the League Cup rolls around on Tuesday night so we asked Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) to highlight his three favourite fancies.
Bolton v Burton | Tuesday 20.00
Over the past two seasons of first round Capital One Cup football we’ve seen 38.5% of lower league teams avoid defeat against their higher division opposition and that trend ocould be set to continue on Tuesday night.
Bolton boss Neil Lennon has said he’d like to take the competition seriously having enjoyed great success in the League Cup as a player. But Lennon also confirmed he’d be making changes for the Macron encounter against Burton with skipper Darren Pratley definitely out having picked up a weekend injury.
The Trotters have previous when it comes to psets too. Last season they required extra-time against Bury and then Crewe in this competition and so a similar outcome against Burton could well be on the cards. The Brewers are 21/20 with Bet365 in the Double Chance market and we’ll be paid out should the visitors avoid defeat in regulation time.
League Two champions Albion have ousted Sheffield United (twice), Leicester, Wigan and QPR in the past three seasons alone whilst managing to score in all bar one of their previous 11 League Cup outings. Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink’s men are battle-hardened after playing three Championship sides in pre-season – Wolves, Birmingham and Derby – and began their campaign with a well-earned success at home to Scunthorpe on Saturday.
Blackburn v Shrewsbury | Tuesday 19.45
Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer called for greater use of video technology following his side’s 2-1 home defeat to Wolves on Saturday. Rovers competed bravely against their highly-fancied visitors but hit the woodwork twice and conceded a controversial goal that was clearly turned in by David Edwards’ hand.
Bowyer will have dusted his troops down from that disappointment but the Ewood Park club will be fielding a much-changed XI from their weekend loss with Bowyer admitting, “We’ve got to utilise the squad that we have and give everybody an opportunity. And, with our squad and the size it is at this moment in time, we’re going to have half an eye on Saturday.”
Rovers have a poor recent record in this competition too having been knocked out in the past three seasons by teams – MK Dons, Carlisle United and Scunthorpe United – from the third tier of English football. In contrast, Tuesday’s opposition Shrewsbury stunned Blackpool, Leicester and Norwich last season before being beaten by eventual winners Chelsea.
The Shrews, the best team in the fourth tier last season despite not being crowned champions, are well managed by Micky Mellon and are ready to battle. Salop’s boss confirmed they’ve had Blackburn watched since pre-season and have ploughed through plenty of DVDs during their homework to find the hosts’ weaknesses.
Town are available at evens with BoyleSports in the Double Chance market and that’s a bet that holds appeal. Mellon’s men were leading Millwall on Saturday before being turned over by the Lions on home turf and will be eager to pit their wits against a Championship club this midweek.
Ipswich v Stevenage | Tuesday 19.45
I totally detest opposing Mick McCarthy teams and I’ve made my feelings pretty clear about how I expect these two teams to fare in 2015/16 – I’ve backed the hosts for promotion and the away side for relegation. So naturally, I’ll be hoping for a cupset when they lock horns at Portman Road.
That might sound a little odd but it makes sense when looking at the team news for this tussle. Mick’s decided to retain just one starter from the Tractor Boys’ 2-2 opening day draw at Brentford whilst handing debuts to four players, naming his XI on Monday afternoon.
Having lost their last three League Cup matches, all against lower league opposition, it’s clear Town aren’t that bothered about progress, which should at least give Teddy Sheringham’s Stevenage a chance. Boro were caught on the counter twice by Notts County on Saturday, going down 2-0, but are well worth a poke at 6/4 (Betway) in the Double Chance market to take Town to at least extra-time.
Bolton v Burton – Burton double chance (21/20 Bet365)
Blackburn v Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury double chance (1/1 BoyleSports)
Ipswich v Stevenage – Stevenage double chance (6/4 Betway)
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