Carabao Cup predictions: Rovers to outclass Hartlepool

Daniel Childs
Spotlight
Jon Dahl Tomasson will hope to see his side overcome Hartlepool United on Wednesday
Jon Dahl Tomasson will hope to see his side overcome Hartlepool United on Wednesday

The Carabao Cup action continues on Wednesday, with six matches scheduled up and down the UK.

There are two Championship ties on the agenda, while some of those lower down the Football League pyramid will hope to cause a shock in the first round.

Blackburn vs Hartlepool (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

Blackburn have not won a major cup competition since their EFL Cup triumph in 2002, but they will be aiming to justify favouritism at home League Two Hartlepool.

The stats

Blackburn have won their opening two matches this season without conceding a goal.

Hartlepool were beaten 4-0 at Walsall on their last road trip and have gone five away games without a victory.

Prediction

Blackburn manager Jon Dahl Tomasson was a UEFA Cup and Champions League winner during his playing days at Feyenoord and Milan and will be looking to take Rovers on a decent EFL Cup run.

Tomasson has steered Rovers to back-to-back league wins and is sure to make some changes with the idea of keeping key players fresh for Saturday's crucial match at home to West Brom.

However, the Dane will be keen to maintain the winning habit, and his players should be full of confidence after the weekend's superb 3-0 success at Swansea.

Rovers are among the stronger teams in the first-round draw, and the task of facing them looks tough for Hartlepool, who have taken one point from two games in League Two.

Paul Hartley's side are yet to score this season and could exit the EFL Cup without finding the net.

Port Vale vs Rotherham (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

Port Vale and Rotherham celebrated promotions last season, rising to League One and the Championship, respectively. They will be looking for a further confidence boost when facing off in the Potteries.

The stats

Port Vale have lost seven of their last 11 EFL Cup ties and have not advanced beyond the second round in 12 attempts.

Rotherham had the best defensive record in League One last season, conceding just 33 goals in 46 matches.

Prediction

With his side failing to play at the weekend, Paul Warne may field a strong starting XI on Wednesday
With his side failing to play at the weekend, Paul Warne may field a strong starting XI on Wednesday

Rotherham had a free weekend after their scheduled Championship match at Coventry was postponed, and their extra freshness could give them the edge at Vale Park.

The Millers started with a 1-1 draw at home to Swansea, and their plans for the EFL Cup first round may have changed following their weekend inactivity.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne seems more likely to persist with first-choice players, and that could make life tougher for Vale, who were beaten 4-0 at Exeter on Saturday.

Vale boss Darrell Clarke will be looking for a response but has limited options up front due to James Wilson's injury.

The Valiants struggled to lay a glove on Exeter, and it is doubtful whether they will fare better against Championship opposition.

Plymouth vs Peterborough (Wednesday, 7.45pm)

Plymouth and Peterborough are expected to feature prominently in the League One promotion race, and they go head-to-head in the EFL Cup first round at Home Park.

The stats

Plymouth were strong at home last season, winning 14 of 23 matches in League One, and they got off to a winning start this term, defeating Barnsley 1-0.

Peterborough struggled on their travels last season, losing 17 of 23 league games.

Prediction

Plymouth's home form could be crucial to their League One promotion challenge, and the backing of their vocal supporters may help them see off Peterborough.

Argyle defeated Barnsley on the opening day of the League One season and will expect a similar challenge from Peterborough, who are another club recently relegated from the Championship.

Peterborough have bounced back from the drop in impressive fashion, posting victories away to Cheltenham (3-2) and at home to Morecambe (3-0).

However, they conceded plenty of chances in both games, and the trip to Plymouth poses them a much more formidable challenge.

Plymouth's primary focus will be on the League One promotion battle, but they will be keen on a cup run and can take the first step this week.

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