Travelling to Old Trafford on a Thursday night.
If you’ve got to play away in the early rounds of the League Cup you hope for a trip to some fallen giants with a ramshackle ground where you can take thousands. Which is what we’ve got.
Manchester United away is every bit as horrible as playing them at home, with the additional problem of the M6 in the rush hour to navigate. Still, we’re their bogey side now so let’s see how we get on against their reserves, or whoever gets put out for this one. It should be a great spectacle after last Sunday; instead the result’s likely to be settled by which manager wants to take it more seriously and at least ours has a good cup record so we could even see a more or less full-strength side. We might have a marginal advantage because we’ll probably have less players worried about the World Cup, their advantage will be the referee, assistants, VAR… the list goes on.
Nobody knows who they’ll have playing for them, while there’s a fair chance we’ll be seeing long-forgotten names such as Morgan Sanson and Marvelous Nakamba stepping out, while surely to God Cameron Archer wil get more than a couple of minutes when the game’s over and it’s still complusory to play your reserve keeper at this stage. There’s no extra time, probably because there’s something else on TV at 10.30, so if the score’s still level at the end of the match it goes to penalties and if we’re lucky we’ll be given the same number as them. Then after that there’ll be the M6 to get back home and it’s bound to have roadworks and one lane open. What a little ray of sunshine this promises to be in the gathering November gloom.
Do Carabao still do the draw for the next round from somewhere in the Far East at 3am?