It’s back! Just six months on from Manchester City’s Carabao Cup success against Arsenal at Wembley, the competition returns with 70 clubs doing battle in Round One this week.
Here are five things to look out for as the Carabao Cup makes its return…
Last season’s heroes
Bristol City are back after their Carabao Cup exploits of 2017/18, where they marched through to the semi-finals before their journey was ended by Manchester City.
The Robins ousted top-flight opposition in Watford, Stoke City and five-time winners Manchester United before bowing out to the eventual champions, and they’ll be dreaming of making more memories in this season’s competition.
Coincidentally, their Round One tie is a home clash against Plymouth Argyle, who they beat 5-0 at this stage last year before embarking on that string of cup upsets.
There are plenty of teams in Round One who have managed to get their hands on the famous trophy in the past, including five-time winners Aston Villa, who travel down south to face Yeovil Town of League Two in a game which will be shown live on Sky Sports.
Nottingham Forest, Norwich City and Birmingham City are the other multiple winners competing at the opening stage. The former pair both face League Two opposition at home in the shape of Bury and Stevenage respectively, while it’s a trip to Reading for the Blues.
Middlesbrough are the most recent of the Cup winners taking their place in Round One. The 2004 champions host Notts County at the Riverside Stadium, looking to build on a three-game unbeaten start to the season, which sees them sitting at the Championship summit.
Macclesfield Town and Tranmere Rovers are up for the Cup once again, following a break from the competition due to recent spells in The National League.
Both begin at home against League One opposition, with the Silkmen welcoming 2014 finalists Bradford City to Moss Rose. Macclesfield’s last tie in this competition came in 2011 — a 2-1 Round Two defeat at Bolton Wanderers.
For Micky Mellon’s Tranmere, Walsall are the visitors and there will be a very familiar face at Prenton Park. Andy Cook was the club’s top scorer last season, firing Rovers back to the EFL, and will now make his return to the Wirral leading the line for the Saddlers.
There are a host of teams who have made a perfect start to the EFL season, and the Carabao Cup can prove key to maintaining that momentum in the early stages of the campaign. Leeds United are one of those, having impressed under Marcelo Bielsa. They host Bolton, who are unbeaten from their two Championship outings.
Five teams from League One have maintained winning starts, and Portsmouth are the only one of those to be at home in Round One, entertaining AFC Wimbledon at Fratton Park. Yorkshire duo Barnsley and Doncaster Rovers also face opponents from the same tier, travelling to Blackpool and Scunthorpe United respectively. Championship tests in the capital await Gillingham and Peterborough United, who visit Millwall and Queens Park Rangers.
In League Two, Exeter City, Lincoln City and Milton Keynes Dons all have two wins from two. Lincoln travel to Port Vale in the Northern Section, but the other pair are at home on the other side of the draw. The Grecians face a stern test in Ipswich Town, while League One Charlton Athletic visit Stadium MK.
Thursday night football
Round One concludes on Thursday night when Sunderland play host to Sheffield Wednesday, in a fixture which will be screened live on Sky Sports. Prior to the clash at the Stadium of Light, the Carabao Cup Round Two Draw will take place.
The Black Cats have made an unbeaten start to life in League One since their second successive relegation, while the Owls have picked up just one point from their first two fixtures.
Sheffield Wednesday famously got their hands on this trophy back in 1991, while the Wearsiders fell one step short in 1985 and most recently in 2014.
Full Round One Draw below: