Thursday, August 14, 2008

Carling Cup Second Round Draw

For the most part, things went according to plan in the First Round of the Carling Cup, which was contested over a period of a couple days earlier this week. There were a couple upsets -- League Two side Rotherham United went to Sheffield Wednesday and bounced the favorite out in a shootout, and Yeovil Town made a trip to The Valley and beat Charlton Athletic 1-0 -- and some tricky games for the big boys at this stage of tournament -- Derby County needed extra time to put away Lincoln City, as did Wolves to overcome Accrington Stanley -- but other than that, the favorites held serve.

The 36 first round winners advanced to the Second Round, where they'll be joined by the 11 Premiership sides not playing in European competition this season and Manchester City, who is playing in Europe but got there through the Fair Play table and not last year's league position, thus not receiving a bye to the Third Round. In total, 48 teams from the Football League will continue their quest to pick up a nice piece of silverware.

The draw was held yesterday and the one-off matches will be played during the week beginning on August 25. Because of Manchester City's European commitment -- they'll be playing the second leg of their UEFA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie at FC Midtjylland in Denmark on the 28th -- the Blues' Carling Cup game against Brighton & Hove Albion has been pushed back to sometime between September 22-29.

There are some interesting matchups here, most of all being Nottingham Forest-Sunderland. Sunderland boss Roy Keane made his name as a player at Forest, spending the first three seasons of his English career there before moving on to Manchester United. The Irishman hasn't been back yet for a competitive game as a manager, although his current team did beat Forest in a preseason friendly there earlier this summer.

Fresh off their upset at Charlton Athletic, Yeovil gets another chance to pull off a shocker as they host Middlesbrough. Leeds United takes on Crystal Palace in a battle of former Premiership teams. Newcastle pays a visit to the Ricoh Arena and Coventry City

Here's the complete draw (home teams are listed first, Premiership teams are in bold):

Ipswich Town vs. Colchester United
Coventry City vs. Newcastle United
Hartlepool United vs. West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United vs. Macclesfield Town
Huddersfield Town vs. Sheffield United
Cardiff City vs. MK Dons
Swansea City vs. Hull City
Rotherham United vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers
Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Manchester City
Reading vs. Luton Town
Blackburn Rovers vs. Grimsby Town
Wigan Athletic vs. Notts County
Leeds United vs. Crystal Palace
Crewe Alexandra vs. Bristol City
Middlesbrough vs. Yeovil Town
Fulham vs. Leicester City
Queens Park Rangers vs. Carlisle United
Nottingham Forest vs. Sunderland
Burnley vs. Oldham Athletic
Southampton vs. Birmingham City
Bolton Wanderers vs. Northampton Town
Watford vs. Darlington
Preston North End vs. Derby County
Cheltenham Town vs. Stoke City