Reading head to London this evening as they face Championship side Millwall at The Den.
The two sides won’t be meeting in a league fixture this term following the Royals’ relegation to League One and with their fall to the third tier in mind, the visitors will be the clear underdogs heading into this clash.
But this is an opportunity for Ruben Selles’ side to cause an upset and get their first win under their new manager after their opening day defeat against Peterborough United.
Arguably deserving to draw that game, they will be seeking redemption against a Millwall side that will be hoping to secure a place in the second-tier play-offs at the end of the season.
What? Carabao Cup Round 1
Where? The Den
When? Tuesday 8th August
Opposition Manager? Gary Rowett
For me, the youngsters should be getting a chance to shine this evening to prove they’re ready to play a key part in the first team. How well some of these players perform could determine which positions Selles decides to target between now and the end of the transfer window.
Joel Pereira and David Button have both been linked with a move to the Select Car Leasing Stadium and a new shot-stopper is needed. A left-back would also be good if John Clarke and Matty Carson can’t step up, but the latter could get the chance to prove to Selles why he should remain in the Royals’ first team.
Sam Hutchinson can’t be classed as a reliable option and this is one reason why another defensive midfielder is needed along with two attacking midfielders/wingers who can create. We don’t have enough creativity at this point and that could come back to haunt us if we don’t solve this issue.
A couple of strikers are also required if the likes of Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan and Jahmari Clarke can’t step up to the plate.
Reading 0-1 Millwall
Starting XI: Andresson, Carson, Dorsett, Mbengue, Abrefa, Craig, Rushesha, Vickers, Camara, Ehibhatiomhan, Clarke
Jokull Andresson deserves a starting spot between the sticks and young duo Jeriel Dorsett and Amadou Mbengue start in front of the Icelandic stopper.
This could be a particularly important game for Mbengue who will want to prove to Selles why he should be starting regularly.
Matty Carson and Kelvin Abrefa get the chance to start at full-back - and it will be particularly interesting to see how the former gets on. If he can perform well, he could potentially become a key part of the first-team squad despite his inexperience.
Tivonge Rushesha and Michael Craig start in the middle of the park for me, although Jay Senga should probably get the opportunity to impress too considering he has shown promise.
Talking of players who have shown promise, Caylan Vickers did exceptionally well against Peterborough United and could be a real asset if he’s allowed to cut in from out wide and combine with others. Mamadi Camara was less impressive at the weekend - but is still a promising player and should get an opportunity to impress.
With Sam Smith out, resting Andy Carroll could be key considering he’s our only experienced striker at this point.
Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan didn’t have his best game at the weekend (along with Carroll) but he may get a chance to make amends tonight - and Jahmari Clarke starts alongside him. With the two already playing together before, they should be on the same wavelength.
Score Prediction: Millwall 1-0 Reading
Carabao Cup ties involving League One sides
Barnsley vs Tranmere Rovers
Bolton Wanderers vs Barrow
Derby County vs Blackpool
Harrogate Town vs Carlisle United
Notts County vs Lincoln City
Port Vale vs Fleetwood Town
Wrexham vs Wigan Athletic
Newport County vs Charlton Athletic
Peterborough United vs Swindon Town
Swansea City vs Northampton Town
Cheltenham Town vs Birmingham City
Exeter City vs Crawley Town
Forest Green Rovers vs Portsmouth
MK Dons vs Wycombe Wanderers
Plymouth Argyle vs Leyton Orient
Stevenage vs Watford
Sutton United vs Cambridge United
Leeds United vs Shrewsbury Town
Burton Albion vs Leicester City
Bristol City vs Oxford United
Ipswich Town vs Bristol Rovers