Having made a cracking start to our Premier League season, it’s now time to turn our attention to the Carling Cup and try to book our third successive Wembley appearance.
In recent seasons our involvement in European competition has allowed us to receive a bye to the third round, so it makes a change for us to be involved at this stage. Championship outfit Doncaster will provide spirited opposition, but we should be able to get our result here, whilst also giving a run out to some of our fringe players.
Harry has indicated that Crouch and Pavlyuchenko will play, despite the rumours surrounding the Russian’s possible transfer. Personally I’m more worried that on paper at least, Crouch and Pav sounds like the slowest strike partnership of all time.
Tonight should also see David Bentley get his first taste of action since he wrapped his car round a lamp post, with Jamie O’Hara, Alan Hutton and Kyle Naughton also likely to feature. With our first choice eleven having done so well thus far this season, those not in the team should be well motivated and determined to show what they can do.
It will be interesting to see just how many changes Harry will make. For all the talk of the strength of depth in our squad, there are some positions where we’re currently short of cover. Benoit Assou Ekotto for example will probably have to play, unless we decide to give Naughton a run out at left back.
Doncaster come into the game without a league win this season, having drawn their first three games, before losing 2-0 to Middlesbrough at the weekend. In years gone by, this is the sort of outfit that we might have had trouble with. Let’s hope that we prove that things have moved on.
My verdict is 3-1.