MARK O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) was in fine form during the first round of Capital One Cup action but can he repeat the feat in Tuesday’s second round?
MK Dons v Cardiff | Tuesday 19.45
I was a Reading goal away from bagging three successive Football League trebles on Saturday but I’m more than happy to oppose my old pal Karl Robinson and his MK Dons team again on Tuesday night.
The Dons held on for a 0-0 at the Madjeski Stadium last weekend despite being out-shot 20-3 by their Berkshire hosts. True, MK did have the best opportunity to win the fixture but Reading’s inability to score goals ultimately cost them in another match they controlled for the most part.
As I said last week, I’m not totally convinced in the Dons. Early results have been reasonably impressive on the fact of it but digging deeper, there are flaws to be exposed. And having made 10 changes for their first round League Cup tie against Leyton Orient, Robinson’s again expected to swap his side around for the visit of Cardiff on Tuesday.
Captain Dean Lewington was the only survivor against the O’s and with MK prioritising Championship survival, we should expect a similar approach despite hosting the showdown at Stadium:MK. With that in mind, the home side make no appeal at 13/10 (Ladbrokes) against a Cardiff side that have now lost just twice in 15.
I’ve been impressed with the Bluebirds, thus far. Russell Slade has organised the troops in an old-fashioned 4-4-2 but it’s proven mighty effective as Cardiff were the better side in a 2-2 draw at QPR, showed resilience against Blackburn (1-1) when going close to taking all three points before deservedly seeing off Wolves 2-0.
Like MK, Slade will have one eye on their weekend league fixture but the Bluebirds have a proud recent history in the League Cup – progressing in eight of their previous nine second round ties – and potential back-ups such as Bruno Manga and Federico Macheda are a cut above their hosts. I’ll take Cardiff +0.25 at evens with Bet365 – we’ll have a winner should Cardiff come out on top but if the match ends in a draw, half our stake is returned and the other half is deemed a winner.
Birmingham v Gillingham | Tuesday 19.45
This isn’t nice. Two of my favourite Football League managers are locking horns on Tuesday night and I’m going to attempt to side with the underdog. Gillingham have been so impressive in the opening month and I’m keen to get them onside for their visit to the Second City.
Gills have despatched two of League One’s promotion favourites Sheffield United (4-0) and Wigan (2-0) in uncompromising fashion with Justin Edinburgh deservedly receiving plenty of plaudits for the fine job he’s started in Kent. Us Edinburgh fans haven’t been massively surprised by his success and it’s now just four defeats in 21.
Gillingham have been chalked up at 20/23 in the Double Chance market by Coral and I’m keen to get on the visitors at those quotes against a Birmingham side likely to be fielding plenty of second string names. Boss Gary Rowett made eight changes to his Blues team for their fortunate 2-1 victory against Bristol Rovers in the first round and he looks likely to follow suit on Tuesday.
Nine Championship sides were eliminated by lower league clubs a fortnight ago and I fancy the Gills chances of reaching the third round for the first time since 2005/06.
Bury v Leicester | Tuesday 19.45
Looking over the past four seasons of performance by Premier League clubs in the second round of the League Cup, we can see that top-flight teams have returned a rather impressive W33-D8-L13 from 54 encounters with lower league opposition.
However, Leicester are one of the sides that have let the elite down. The Foxes have been eliminated at this stage in two of their last three attempts with League Two Shrewsbury winning 1-0 at the KP last year. So whilst the 8/11 quotes on an away win make no appeal against a dangerous Bury, the 10/11 from 10Bet on Both Teams To Score does.
Gary Flitcroft’s hosts invested heavily over the summer following promotion to League One and can now boast a fearsome forwardline of Tom Pope and Leon Clarke at their level whilst Danny Mayor has also impressed many during August. The Shakers ended 2014/15 in rock solid fashion but the same can’t be said of their start to the new campaign.
Bury, who knocked out Wigan 2-1 in the first round, have seen their five fixtures all bank in the BTTS market with a total of 22 goals being plundered. The hosts have kept just one clean sheet in 17 League Cup games but have at least netted themselves in their most recent seven outings in the same competition.
Leicester will arrive at Gigg Lane with an understrength side with Claudio Ranieri admitting he’ll give a number of fringe players the opportunity to get a competitive game under their belts. And the Foxes three Premier League matches have proven a decent spectacle for goal-hungry punters – all three have proven profitable in the Both Teams To Score column and I’ll count on a repeat this Tuesday night.
MK Dons v Cardiff – Cardiff +0.25 Asian Handicap (1/1 Bet365)
Birmingham v Gillingham – Gillingham double chance (20/23 Coral)
Bury v Leicester – Both Teams To Score (10/11 10Bet)
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