Carling Cup preview
Published : 23 Sep 2009 11:09:56
Holders Manchester United start their defence of the Carling Cup as Aston Villa, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur bid to avoid third-round upsets. Wednesday night also serves up two all Premier League ties as Everton head to Hull City and Fulham make the trip to Manchester City. United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is set to ring the changes for Wolves' visit to Old Trafford as he looks for a repeat of last season's successful run to Wembley. Michael Owen, the goal hero from Sunday's derby against City, will start, while Wolves manager Mick McCarthy is planning an attack-minded approach. Last season's beaten finalists Tottenham face a Championship side away from home for the second round in a row. After thrashing Doncaster Rovers 5-1 last month, Spurs boss Harry Redknapp will be hoping his injury-hit defence can cope with a trip to Preston North End, who have won five games in a row at Deepdale. There is a West London derby at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea play host to Queens Park Rangers, who beat Aston Villa away from home in this competition last season before losing to eventual winners United. Villa have suffered bloodied noses from lower league clubs in the Carling Cup in recent seasons and will be wary of the threat posed by Cardiff. Doncaster and Leicester preceded QPR in knocking out Villa in recent seasons and Dave Jones will be eyeing a positive performance from his Cardiff side. At the KC Stadium, Hull boss Phil Brown will be looking for a win to kick-start his team's campaign following a disappointing home defeat by Birmingham at the weekend. In contrast, visitors Everton are now up and running, scoring seven goals without reply in two games over the past week and David Moyes plans to name a strong side. The final game of the night pits Mark Hughes' high-flying City against Europa League entrants Fulham at the City of Manchester Stadium. City's last major trophy success came in this competition way back in 1976, while Fulham have never gone beyond the quarter-final stage.