In today’s draw, for some reason done from Independence Palace in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Reading have been paired with Birmingham City for the first round of the Carabao Cup. The tie will be played at the Madejski Stadium in the week of August 13, so make sure your diaries are cleared well in advance of this glamorous match.
Birmingham City, now under the stewardship of Garry Monk, are familiar faces - in the last 12 years, we’ve only had one calendar year where we’ve not played them (2010). With due respect to them, it would have been nice to have a fresher, more interesting cup tie to look forward to.
That said, it’s the first time the Royals will have faced the Blues in the League Cup, although the two teams did meet in the FA Cup back in 2007. That time, a 3-2 away win saw Steve Coppell’s side advance to the fifth round (where they were beaten by Manchester United).
Reading have a pretty average record in the League Cup over the last few decades, not getting past the fourth round since 1998, when they lost to Middlesbrough at Elm Park in the quarter-finals. However, they’ve only lost in the first round three times during that period - the latest coming in 2011/12, and we all know how that season turned out.
In more recent years, we’ve seen defeats to Arsenal, Peterborough, Derby County, Everton, Arsenal (again) and Swansea City.
There have also been some interesting format changes to the Carabao Cup, which you can read all about here: