Predictions

Carabao Cup Time

Now that the EFL is back underway, attention turns to the newly branded Carabao Cup, better known as the League Cup.

 

With Premier League teams receiving a bye alongside Hull and Middlesbrough to balance the numbers, this round is the perfect opportunity for lower league clubs to knock out a big Championship club.

 

The first round has a northern/southern section so I am going to guide you through the three best ties from each section for the opening night.

 

Northern Section

 

Accrington Stanley vs Preston

This little derby should be interesting given the winning start made by both teams on Saturday.

Last season, both teams reached the second and fourth rounds respectively meaning we are guaranteed an early exit here for one of them.

These sides also met just a few weeks ago in a pre season friendly, which was won 3-2 by the visitors. Just how much will the experience of that game affect the match overall?

Both sides will definitely want bragging rights come full time so expect a proper contest with Preston just edging it.

Prediction: Accrington Stanley 1-2 Preston AET

Result: Accrington Stanley 3-2 Preston (After Normal Time)

 

Bradford City vs Doncaster Rovers

This tasty Yorkshire derby should be entertaining with both teams in fine form.

The Bantams will be brimming at the seams with confidence after winning the last three meetings in this fixture.

Doncaster however will be keen to stamp some ruthless authority down after criticism from the manager, after a 0-0 draw at home to Gillingham on Saturday.

On that note, expect to see Bradford digging deep and potentially counter attacking. If Charlie Wyke is fit, he could well come off the bench and nick it for the home side.

Prediction: Bradford City 1-0 Doncaster Rovers

Result: Bradford City 2-3 Doncaster Rovers

 

Grimsby Town vs Derby County

This is a potential banana skin for Gary Rowett’s Derby as they head to Grimsby for what must feel like a return leg, given that they met at the Ipro Stadium this time last season where the Rams took a 1-0 win.

Derby hasn’t had the best of luck at this stage of this competition as far as recent years are concerned. Their biggest victory margin since 2012 was a 2-0 win at Carlisle so expect a proper scrappy game here.

Grimsby took a convincing win on the road at the weekend making them probably the favourites here so it could come down to fatigue.

Both sides will definitely make some changes but I would have to fancy Grimsby to just clinch it in extra time.

Prediction: Grimsby Town 1-0 Derby County

Result Grimsby A-A Derby County (Match Abandoned)

 

Southern Section

 

AFC Wimbledon vs Brentford

Brentford will surely fancy their chances of progressing to the second round for the first time since 2013. Since then, they haven’t had much luck including a cruel penalty shootout loss in 2014 after a 6-6 draw.

AFC Wimbledon have also been in the doldrums with no second round appearance since joining the EFL in summer 2011.

Both sides dominated their  away games at the weekend with Wimbledon getting a point at Scunthorpe. The Bees however lost 1-0 to Sheffield United so expect a tough game here with plenty of shots on target.

Throw in changes and their poor first round record, many would say this has penalties written all over it. I definitely do agree with anyone thinking that but expect Brentford to come through via sudden death shootout.

Prediction: AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Brentford AET (Brentford to win penalty shootout)

Result: AFC Wimbledon 1-3 Brentford AET

 

Wycombe Wanderers vs Fulham

This should be an tricky match for both teams, who earned scrappy draws at home on Saturday.

Whoever features here will certainly be keen to impress but the Chairboys should have more depth available. Fulham’s midfield is very light so can’t afford many injuries and could cost them here.

Wycombe hasn’t advanced beyond this round since 2011 but Fulham haven’t crashed out till at least the second round in that period.

These two have also met at this stage at same ground in 2015. The Cottagers won that game 1-0 but there are surely some questions hanging over them this time.

The match will be open and taking Fulham’s midfield issues into account on top of their tendency to concede late in matches, I think Wycombe might just dig something up here.

Prediction: Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 Fulham

Result: Wycombe Wanderers 0-2 Fulham

 

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Yeovil Town

After Saturday’s annihilation at Luton Town, things surely can’t get more disastrous for Yeovil or can they?

Wolverhampton come into this game off the back of a slender win over Championship favourites, Middlesbrough.

Having spent heavily so far this summer on players as well as a new manager, Wolves won’t want an embarrassing exit here against a side who were all over the place at Kenilworth Road three days ago.

Yeovil however will be spurned on by that performance to put smiles back on their fans’ faces ASAP.

Both sides have progressed from the first round on three occasions since Wolves dropped out of the Premier League in 2012. This makes the match realistically even stevens given both have recent inconsistency at this stage.

Despite that stat, I am backing a comfortable home win for Wolves here purely because of the quality in their squad.

Prediction: Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 Yeovil Town

Result: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Yeovil Town

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