Category Archives: Preston North End

Carabao Cup: Round One Draw Announced

The Carabao Cup Round One draw was made on Thursday evening from Morrisons, Colindale, North West London.

There were two stand out ties from the draw with AFC Wimbledon playing MK Dons, while newly-promoted Salford City will face Leeds United.

The draw was conducted by two former England internationals in John Barnes and Ray Parlour and was split into two regions – North and South.

Huddersfield Town, the hightest-ranked team in the Northern Section, will face Lincoln City while the highest ranked Southern side, West Bromwich Albion, will face Millwall.

Every club from Sky Bet League One and League Two enter the Carabao Cup in Round One, along with 22 Championship clubs.

Only Cardiff City and Fulham – who finished 18th and 19th respectively in the Premier League last season, will enter in Round Two, alongside the clubs from the Premier League, not in European competitions.

The first round matches are scheduled to take place week commencing Monday 12thAugust, with the final due to take place on March 1, 2020.

Full Round One Draw can be seen below:

North Draw

Tranmere Rovers v Hull City

Grimsby Town v Doncaster Rovers

Wigan Athletic v Stoke City

Port Vale v Burton Albion

Nottingham Forest v Fleetwood Town

Bradford City v Preston North End

Blackpool v Macclesfield Town

Blackburn Rovers v Oldham Athletic

Mansfield Town v Morecambe

Accrington Stanley v Sunderland

Scunthorpe United v Derby County

Rochdale v Bolton Wanderers

Huddersfield Town v Lincoln City

Middlesbrough v Crewe Alexandra

Shrewsbury Town v Rotherham United

Sheffield Wednesday v Bury

Salford City v Leeds United

Barnsley v Carlisle United

South Draw

Colchester United v Swindon Town

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons

Oxford United v Peterborough United

Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City

Plymouth Argyle v Leyton Orient

Wycombe Wanderers v Reading

Charlton Athletic v Forest Green Rovers

Gillingham v Newport County

Stevenage v Southend United

Luton Town v Ipswich Town

Walsall v Crawley Town

Bristol Rovers v Cheltenham Town

Brentford v Cambridge United

Coventry City v Exeter City

Swansea City v Northampton Town

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Checkatrade Trophy: Is The Format Working?

Last season the EFL brought in a new format for the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and really it hasn’t helped teams in lower leagues. The new format encourages teams in the Premier League and the Championship to submit an Under 21’s squad into the competition. So is this format still a good idea?

The final of last season’s Checkatrade trophy was between Coventry and Oxford and broke the attendance record for the competition with 74,434, but all of last season the attendance figures at games across the competition was still low, Peterborough United as an example had an attendance of 1696 at their game against Norwich Academy which is a 4,000 less then their average attendance last season.

Last season as well clubs got fined for not fielding full strength squads,  on the 16th November Luton Town and Portsmouth were fined £15,000 for breaching this rule for all three of their group games, whereas Bradford, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Millwall, Charlton, Peterborough, Sheffield United and Southend all got fined £3,000 and Fleetwood were fined £5,000. That doesn’t sound like a lot to big clubs but in lower levels it is a lot to those clubs.

The group format is a nice new addition to the competition but for me I think if you took out participation from the Under 21’s it would be a good competition for lower league clubs and will hopefully increase ticket sales for the clubs as that can help boost finances. They also need to remove the full strength squad rule as fining teams for putting different squads out isn’t fair on teams that need to make sure people in their team stay fit and get a chance to show what they’re worth.

*Feature image courtesy of EFL.com*

 

Is football for the fans anymore?

It’s been a crazy summer for football this year with some crazy numbers coming from the amount that clubs have spent with Neymar and Mbappe etc. The money from the new Premier League television rights deal is well and truly coming to fruition with Premier League spending and revenues on the up. Even in the Championship spending has increased with Wolves paying 14 million pounds for Ruben Neves (just one player!)

 

With all of this money you would think that this would benefit English fans who follow their teams week in week out right? It couldn’t be more wrong as the price of season tickets are going up and kick off times for matches are set to change for an international audience.

 

So this begs the question do clubs really care about their local fans who pay their money to support them through the good and the bad times?

 

The answer to that question has to be a no. English clubs are charging a monumental amount of money to go to football matches and even when they are there the cost of food and drink is extortionate.

 

Premier League newcomers Huddersfield are the only exception from that statement as their cheapest season ticket comes in at just 175 pounds which is amazing considering the start they have had. In reality Arsenal’s cheapest season ticket comes in at just over 1000 pounds. That is a ridiculous amount of money to expect from a working class fan base.

 

Even in League One Bradford City fans were charged 28 pounds at Peterborough for a pay on the gate match. 28 Pounds for an away game in League One is scandalous and shows the director that English Football has taken.

 

On top of the prices clubs have all gone into the corporate fan bases which gives people the opportunities that most fans can’t afford. An example of this is Manchester City’s new Tunnel Club which offers people the chance to meet players and get up close and personal with the management team in exchange for a hefty price. City have alienated their fan base by taking opportunities away from their traditional working class fanbase and giving them to people who can afford to pay for the privilege. It’s not just Man City who are guilty of this as it can be seen up and down the country.

 

I’m not saying that the people who go to matches in corporate hospitality are wrong because they have paid for the service and fair play to them. Whats wrong is that most English clubs no longer see their traditional fan bases as the most important.

 

Another example can be taken from the recently named Carabao Cup. The third round draw for the competition took place live from China at 4:15 AM (GMT) meaning most British fans were sleeping when their teams draw took place. A spokesman for the FSF said: “In our 2017 national supporters’ survey fans expressed increasing frustration at instances of overseas audiences apparently being prioritised over domestic supporters. Holding the draw in Beijing at that time can only increase the sense of disconnection many domestic fans feel.”

 

Do you think that English Football is losing touch with its fans and becoming corporatised? Let us know in the comments section below…

 

 

2017/2018 Best Championship XI?

With the summer transfer window officially closed, we now know all the official squads in the Championship, before the clubs go through it all again in January. With that in mind we take a look at what we think is the best Championship XI on current form.

John Ruddy – Goalkeeper

The Wolves shot stopper made the switch to Molineux this summer after being released by Norwich City at the end of last season. Having kept 3 clean sheets in the opening 5 games of the Championship season, it is clear to see that Wolves have a safe pair of hands to call upon.

Sol Bamba – Centre Half

Having recently signed a new contract with the ‘Bluebirds’, Bamba and Cardiff have a terrific start to the season. Keeping 3 clean sheets and having chipped in with a goal Bamba has to take his place in this team.

Pontus Jansson – Centre Half

The Leeds man was pivotal to the club finishing just outside the play-offs last season, and has helped the club to the second best defensive record in the Championship so far this campaign. The Swedish centre half is proving to become a fans favourite at Elland Road and has been capped for his national team.

Paul Huntington – Centre Half 

The ever present centre half for Preston North End has helped the club to the best defensive record in the league so far this season and also to 7th place in the league table. At the age of 29 Huntington brings much needed experience to the back line and if Preston continue in this fine form of not conceding goals, they could sneak a play-off!

Ruben Neves – Defensive Midfielder

Perhaps the most bizarre transfer of the summer, as Neves completed his move to Wolves for a fee in the region of £15m. The 20 year has made decent start to life in England as he has scored his first goal for Wolves and helped the club to 4th place in the Championship table.

Bobby Reid – Central Midfielder

The Bristol City central midfielder is joint top scorer in the Championship with 4 goals and has 1 assist to his name which gets him a place in the side. Despite ‘The Robins’ drawing 3 successive games and falling to 14th in the league table, I fully expect them to have a good season and be in the promotion picture come May.

Jota – Right Wing

Making the move to St Andrews on deadline day could prove to be an astute piece of business for Harry Redknapp. Jota became the clubs record signing as he completed his move to the Midlands for fee in excess of £6m, and if he can capture the form he found last season at Brentford where he scored 12 goals and provided 5 assists for his team mates he will prove to a top quality signing for Birmingham.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing – Left Wing

The Cardiff winger has certainly found his feet in the Championship as he has opened the season by scoring 4 goals. Making the switch from Rochdale in the summer, the versatile player who can play on either flank, has been in impressive form and has helped the ‘Bluebirds’ to top the Championship table.

Britt Assombalonga – Centre Forward

Guaranteed goals by this man! A Proven striker at Championship level, Assombalonga made the switch to the Riverside Stadium in the summer for £14m, showing that Boro certainly see him as a key figure in the push for an immediate Premier League return. Having started the season scoring. 2 goals in 5 games the Congolese international will be hoping to start firing on all cylinders after the international break.

Billy Sharp – Centre Forward (C)

The experienced striker has scored goals at every level and has proved his worth so far for Sheffield United in the Championship as he has found the net on 4 occasions so far. With the ‘Blades’ sitting in a play-off spot currently, they could certainly be dark horses this season, with Sharp guaranteed to score more goals.

Martyn Waghorn – Centre Forward

What a signing he has proved to be so far this season for Ipswich Town finding the net on 4 occasions also, and also having the best goal to minutes ratio in the Championship as he averages a goal every 62 minutes!

Manager – Neil Warnock

Having turned Cardiff around from a team that was struggling last season to table toppers there was no other manager I could have chose!

Do you agree this is the best Championship XI right now? Let us know in the comments section below…