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This is a bit of a shock, writing a preview for a League Cup fourth round tie involving Burnley, but that’s exactly where we are tonight with a home game against Manchester City having already beaten Sheffield United and Millwall in the competition.

Blackburn apart in 2017, we hadn’t won a solitary game in this competition since 2013 when York, Preston and Nottingham Forest were all beaten before we went out to two penalties at home against West Ham.

In this strangest of seasons, I don’t think anyone expected things to be any different, more so given we drew Premier League opposition in Sheffield United. We even fell behind but a Matěj Vydra goal took it to penalties where we won through 5-4 and that meant a trip to Millwall last week.

With injuries piling up, both Bobby Thomas and Josh Benson joined Jimmy Dunne in the starting eleven while Anthony Glennon got a debut as a substitute. In the end we were comfortable 2-0 winners on a night when Vydra got his second in the competition this season right at the end to add to a stunner right on half time from Josh Brownhill.

City, meanwhile, joined the competition last week and beat Bournemouth 2-1 a the Etihad. Like us, they weren’t able to field a full strength team and that is going to be the case for both teams again tonight.

Sean Dyche described James Tarkowski as touch and go yesterday; those words are usually another way of saying ruled out. To be honest, I don’t think too many Burnley fans will be that concerned; what would be concerning is Tarky not being around for the West Brom game on 17th October, the first game we will play after the transfer window has closed.

Although there is better news regarding the injured players, it’s not expected any of them will play tonight with Ashley Barnes probably the closest having come through two under-23 games last week, playing a total of 150 minutes. Others were involved yesterday but are taking tentative steps towards full fitness. That West Brom game could see a much different looking squad available to the manager.

Tonight, however, the team will be one more short from the one that won at Millwall. Jay Rodriguez was forced off early in that game and missed the opening home league game against his former club Southampton last weekend. He’s not expected to feature this week but should be fit for the return after the international break when he will be hoping to play against West Brom, his other former club. We will also be without latest signing Dale Stephens. He made his debut against Southampton but will have to sit this one out having played in the competition for Brighton against Portsmouth prior to his move to Burnley.

The team at Millwall was: Bailey Peacock-Farrell, Matt Lowton, Bobby Thomas, Jimmy Dunne, Charlie Taylor, Erik Pieters, Josh Brownhill, Josh Benson, Dwight McNeil, Jay Rodriguez, Matěj Vydra.  Subs: Will Norris, Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Anthony Glennon, Mace Goodridge, Chris Wood.

How will Manchester City line up? Their team against Bournemouth was: Zack Steffen, Kyle Walker, Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Eric García, Adrián Bernabé, Tommy Doyle, Rodri, Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez, Ferran Torres, Liam Delap. Subs: Scott Carson, Cole Palmer, Felix Nmecha, Nathan Aké, Benjamin Mendy, Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling.

 

LAST TIME IN THE LEAGUE CUP

 

Tonight will be just the second time the teams have met in the League Cup. The previous occasion was at the start of the 1999/2000 season. We were embarking on a promotion season that would take us back up to the second tier of English football; Manchester City had just achieved that with a play-off victory against Gillingham in the previous May.

They were too strong for us in the first leg at Maine Road and won 5-0 before clinching a 1-0 victory against us in the second leg.

Shaun Goater opened the scoring for City in the first leg, the only goal of the first half. Mark Kennedy doubled the lead before Kevin Horlock, who now has a connection at Burnley with Nick Pope, netted a penalty. Future Claret Gareth Taylor made it four before Kennedy got his second to complete the scoring.

At the Turf, the only goal of the game was scored by Terry Cooke.

The teams in the first leg were;

Manchester City: Nicky Weaver, Gerard Wiekens, Danny Tiatto, Lee Crooks, Andy Morrison, Kevin Horlock, Jeff Whitley, Mark Kennedy, Terry Cooke (Ian Bishop 59), Shaun Goater (Gareth Taylor 66), Paul Dickov (Danny Allsopp 55). Subs not used: Tommy Wright, Richard Jobson.

Burnley: Paul Crichton, Dean West, Steve Davis, Mitchell Thomas, Tom Cowan, Glen Little (Stephen Grant 69), Micky Mellon, Lenny Johnrose, Paul Cook (Ronnie Jepson 65), Graham Branch (Alan Lee 53), Andy Payton. Subs not used: Gordon Armstrong, Paul Smith.

And in the second leg;

Burnley: Paul Crichton, Chris Brass, Gordon Armstrong, Mitchell Thomas, Tom Cowan, Glen Little, Micky Mellon (Dean West 50), Mark Robertson, Lenny Johnrose, Graham Branch (Stephen Grant 68), Alan Lee (Ronnie Jepson 60). Subs not used: Paul Smith, Andy Payton.

Manchester City: Nicky Weaver, Richard Jobson, Gerard Wiekens (Tony Vaughan 65), Richard Edghill, Lee Crooks, Jamie Pollock, Michael Brown, Mark Kennedy, Terry Cooke (Shaun Wright-Phillips 70), Ian Bishop, Gareth Taylor (Danny Allsopp 57). Subs not used: Stephen Hodgson, Gary Mason.

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