Bolton Wanderers v Crewe Alexandra
Crewe Alexandra make the short trip to Bolton to lock horns with Bolton Wanderers in the Papa John’s Trophy.
These two North West clubs played each other last season and the Trotters ran out winners (1-0 and 2-0) in both games as the Railwaymen slumped to relegation from League One. Promotion to the Championship is the aim for Ian Evatt’s side this term and their home form so far hasn’t been too bad, winning two out of their three league clashes at the University of Bolton Stadium. However, they will be looking to bounce back from their 2-0 away loss to Plymouth Argyle by beating Crewe this week. Evatt asked for ‘perspective’ after that one and still thinks his side are heading in the right direction. They are a club who could fancy their chances of winning the EFL Trophy this term and a run to the final would give their fans an opportunity to go to Wembley. In terms of injury news, left-back Declan John didn’t start their last game due to injury but they have a ready-made replacement in the form of summer recruit from Cambridge United Jack Iredale. In addition, striker Jon-Dadi Bodvarsson is out for a couple of weeks but that isn’t too much of an issue as Bolton have a whole host of attacking options to pick from including Dion Charles, Elias Kachunga and Amadou Bakayoko. George Thomason, Will Aimson and MJ Williams were on the bench against the Pilgrims which suggests they could start on Tuesday night which proves they have strong alternatives. The Trotters have great depth in their ranks and should be able to make changes and sport a strong side which should be enough to win.
Crewe have won just once in their last four league outings and haven’t won in their last three as they prepare for a tough cup clash. They drew 0-0 away at Bradford City over the weekend and only had 38% possession. Their boss, Alex Morris said there is ‘more to come’ from his side but as injury problems continue to cloud over the team, will they be able to freshen up their starting XI enough to compete with a side from a higher league? Attacker Lachlan Brook, who is on loan from Brentford and has been a hit since his summer switch, is out of action for six weeks which is a huge blow. The Railwaymen missed him as they drew a blank at Valley Parade and were starved of his creativity. Tariq Uwakwe came in for him but he hasn’t scored for the club in his last 15 outings in all competitions. Forward Chris Long is also out of action which isn’t ideal and shows the lack of cover this squad has right now, with Morris himself admitting they are still in the market for new signings. They have been relying a lot on Courtney Baker-Richardson for goals but their manager needs to decide whether it is worth risking him for a Papa John’s Trophy game. If he doesn’t play, Crewe will seriously lack a cutting edge as he has found the net four times in six matches.
Derby County v Grimsby Town
Derby County have their first ever Papa John’s Trophy game on Tuesday against League Two new boys Grimsby Town.
The Rams have made a solid start to the season in League One as they eye an immediate promotion back to the Championship. This game gives them the chance to give of the players on the fringes of their squad some minutes. They beat Peterborough United 2-1 last time out courtesy of late goals from Jason Knight and David McGoldrick. Their interim boss, Liam Rosenior, was ‘delighted’ with the character shown by his side and if they play like that against Grimsby, there is no reason why they can’t carry on their decent run of form. In terms of team selection, midfielder Korey Smith started on the bench against the Posh which suggests he could play a part from the off this week instead of Max Bird. This would be a boost for the Rams and his experience in the middle of the park would come in handy. Youngsters like Liam Thompson, Kwaku Oduroh and Jake Rooney may also all come into the starting XI and they will all add great energy into the side. Derby are unbeaten in their last four outings on home soil and haven’t been beaten there so far this term so they will be eager to maintain their perfect record in front of their own supporters.
Grimsby were playing in the National League in the last campaign and their sole aim is to stay up this season. This means that they may well take their foot off the gas as they prepare to for their tough trip to Derbyshire. They were beaten 3-0 at home by Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup last week before winning away at Walsall in the league last time out. However, the result was slightly fortunate for them and it could have easily gone another way, with manager Paul Hurst admitting himself that Walsall could have gone “two or three up” in the first-half. On the injury front, the Mariners remain without key striker John McAtee which seriously weakens their attacking prowess. They started Ryan Taylor up top against Walsall but the 34-year-old hasn’t scored yet this season. McAtee, on the other hand, fired 16 in all competitions last term and was sold to Championship side Luton Town earlier this summer before being loaned back. Without him, Grimsby aren’t as strong and despite playing well recently, their game against Derby could be one step too far.
Ipswich Town v Northampton Town
Northampton Town have a tough trip to League One promotion hopefuls Ipswich Town in the Papa John’s Trophy on Tuesday evening.
Ipswich have started the new season well under former Manchester United first-team coach Kieran McKenna and are joint-top of the third tier with Portsmouth after four wins from six games. They are unbeaten so far in the league and will want to keep their momentum going with a victory over the Cobblers this week. They drew 2-2 at home to Barnsley over the weekend with goals from attacker Conor Chaplin and midfielder Sam Morsy. Speaking after that result, McKenna said that his side ‘should have won’ so will be looking to see his team bounce back. In terms of selection news, Ipswich are likely to freshen up their ranks and their youngsters and fringe players will be eager to make an impact and show why they should be playing in league matches. The Tractor Boys have a bigger squad and more strength in depth than Northampton so can deal with these Tuesday cup games better. Midfielder Dom Ball and defender Richard Keogh, who both signed over the summer, are poised to make their debuts which is a boost as they provide fresh legs. The East Anglian side may also switch things up between the sticks and bring Vaclav Hladky in for Christian Walton, which could prove to be a smart move as he played against the Cobblers last season during his Salford City days. Ipswich have lost just once in their last seven in all competitions and should have enough to carry on their impressive run of results.
Northampton missed out on automatic promotion from League Two last term by a single goal and then lost in the play-offs to Mansfield Town. They will be eyeing the top seven again in this campaign but have slumped over the past couple of weeks, drawing to Crewe Alexandra and losing 1-0 at home to Doncaster Rovers last time out. The Papa John’s Trophy isn’t their priority and if anything, a midweek trip to take on a strong Ipswich side is just a nuisance for them. As a result, their boss John Brady will be making changes for this one. He has said he will ‘hopefully’ be able to give some players who haven’t been getting much minutes the opportunity to play. Defender Akin Odimayo, who joined over the summer from Swindon Town, has been struggling with injury recently but came off the bench against Doncaster and is expected to start at Portman Road ahead of either Tyler Magloire or John Guthrie. It will be beneficial for him to get some game time but he is a player who hasn’t played at all so far this season and is someone who Ipswich could target. Leicester City loan attacker Josh Eppiah is another who could play a part but he only had his first full week of training last week and may not be 100% ready. He also only scored twice in 16 games during his loan at Sixfields last term before returning for a second spell. The fact the East Midlands outfit are preparing to shake up their side suggests they aren’t taking this cup seriously which will play into the hands of Ipswich.
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