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1516 burnley turf moor 02 1000Having beaten League One club Blackburn Rovers at their Ewood Park ground in the last round, Burnley are through to the 3rd round of the League Cup and face Leeds United at home tonight.

To have been paired with a Football League club at home is all you can ask, but it couldn’t have been a tougher draw given that Leeds, despite their defeat at Millwall last Saturday, lead the table as they look to get back in the Premier League they last left in 2004.

At the risk of upsetting the globetrotting buffoon Shaun Harvey, the Football League chief executive who dares to accuse those criticising of taking the p***, I’ll refer to the competition as the League Cup with no reference to EFL, the sponsor or the sheer farce this competition has been in all season.

Since reaching the 4th round in 2013, it hasn’t been the best of competitions for us and when Jack Cork gave us the lead in the last round it was our first League Cup goal since Danny Ings bagged a pair in a 2-1 win against Nottingham Forest in that run of four years ago.

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Tonight will see us play a home game in this competition for the first time since 2014 when Sheffield Wednesday beat us 1-0 with an Atdhe Nuhiu penalty 12 minutes from time. We followed that up with defeats in the next two years at Port Vale and Accrington, both by that same 1-0 scoreline and with even later goals.

Much of the interest has centred on Charlie Taylor and Chris Wood. Both ended the 2016/17 as Leeds players and Wood even started this season with them. He scored in their opening day league win at Bolton and was an unused substitute in their 1st round win in this competition at Port Vale which allowed him to feature at Blackburn in the last round and leaves him able to play against his former club tonight.

Speaking to the Burnley Express, Wood said of the draw that paired his old and new clubs: “It was inevitable wasn’t it? That’s life. I had two great years at Leeds. I cannot speak highly enough of the players and coaching staff and the new owner. He was fantastic with me, he is a great man and will take the club forward.”

“Looking forward to the game, he added: “It will be tough, they have started very well, hopefully they continue through the season because I would like to see them up in the Premier League with us.”

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It will be interesting to see the kind of reception he receives from the visiting fans given his recent departure. He scored 27 league goals for them and probably had to consider his future when new manager Thomas Christiansen criticised previous boss Garry Monk, claiming that his tactics had been unhealthily over reliant on Wood.

It’s not certain Wood will play, given he got in almost a full game at Anfield and with strikers awaiting their opportunity, but Taylor looks a certain starter and what is also certain is the reception he receives from the Leeds fans will not be mixed. They were far from happy when he pulled out of their last game of the season and certainly far from happy when he signed for us.

With both teams expected to make changes, it is a bit difficult trying to predict a team, although I was remarkably accurate when we played at Blackburn. I do expect such as Phil Bardsley, Kevin Long, Taylor, Ashley Westwood, Jon Walters and Ashley Barnes to start but other than that it is a pure guessing game.

It looks as though it is going to be the same for Leeds with the manager confirming that there might be games for players who haven’t had many minutes this season.

Tonight will be the first time Burnley and Leeds have met in a cup competition at Turf Moor. We did play Leeds City away in the FA Cup 1st round in 1913 and in 1972 we were beaten 4-0 by the current Leeds in the League Cup at Elland Road. Peter Lorimer scored twice that night with the other two goals coming from Mick Jones and Trevor Cherry.

For the winners, the 4th round draw will take place tomorrow after the games have been played. I wouldn’t wish to upset Mr Harvey so I won’t think of a venue but last heard he was singing Fly me to the moon.

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