Johnstone Paint Trophy Preview 3rd September
Less than 24 hours after the transfer window shut for the calendar year the action returns as clubs from League 1 and 2 battle it for a place in the second round of this year’s Johnstone Paint Trophy.
With teams divided into groups determined by geographic location, the competition often pits local rivals against each other and provides some wonderful nights for fans as they hope their team will manoeuvre a route to Wembley’s final.
The outcomes will be decided tonight one way or another so, no matter what happens, it’s bound to be another night of great excitement.
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Wolves Vs Walsall.
One of the several local derby matches tonight sees Walsall make the short distance to League 1 leaders, and tournament favourites, Wolves.
For years these two were miles apart in terms of but, following successive relegations, Wolves will now play Walsall in the league later this year for the first time since 2002/03. However, first they meet each other tonight and local pride is at stake.
Whilst Walsall have started OK, they enter the match on the back of two league defeats. Meanwhile, Wolves sit top of the league having won their last four matches and will be extremely confident that they can bounce back into The Championship at the first attempt.
Should this be the case then this year will be their only chance to win this competition. It wouldn’t make up for the suffering endured over the past two years, but a league title combined with a trip to Wembley in the Johnstone Paint would certainly go a long way to making Wolves fans feel positive about their club once more.
Regardless of whether they will go on to win the competition remains to be seen but, with local bragging rights on the line, tonight’s encounter should only end in one result.
Brentford Vs AFC Wimbledon
Another local derby takes place at Griffin Park as Brentford entertain Wimbledon.
Last season Wimbledon were fortunate to keep their league status and only managed to do so on the last day at the expense of Barnet. However, the Dons have started this season really well and sit in 4th after the first five games. It’s unfamiliar territory for the League 2 side and fans would be forgiven for feeling slight altitude sickness. As much as they would love a nice cup run, league success will remain the priority and Neil Ardley’s men won’t be too concerned should they taste defeat tonight.
In truth, Wimbledon will face an uphill battle even if they do bring their ‘A’ game. Brentford are a great footballing team for this level and at times play a really attractive game. They were desperately unlucky not to gain promotion into the second tier last term and will look to make amends this campaign. An unbeaten start sees them currently positioned exactly 24 places above tonight’s opponents as they sit 4th in the League 1 table.
Brentford will fancy their chances of lifting this trophy and will aim to send their fans home happy tonight.
BET TIP: A double of Wolves & Brentford @ 1.62/1 with SkyBet.
Hartlepool Vs Bradford
Bradford make one of the longest journeys of the night as they travel to Victoria Park but that shouldn’t stop them progressing to round 2.
League 1 newcomers Bradford have adapted to the new challenge extremely well having already picked up 8 points from their 5 games. Conversely, following last year’s relegation, Hartlepool have not settled to League 2 at all and find themselves in the dreaded bottom two.
More telling is Hartlepool’s failure to register a single goal in their 5 games. Even when they’ve had the man advantage like they did against Southend, the Pool have rarely threatened the opposing goal and tonight could well be another blank for the League 2 strugglers.
Bradford made two trips to Wembley last season, which included that unforgettable run to the Capital One cup final. That run galvanised the squad and spurred them on in their fight for promotion and ultimately made a huge difference when it came to their playoff success.
The Bantams have first-hand experience of how a good cup run can boost morale and rub off on their league endeavours and will be hoping to kickstart another memorable journey tonight.
BET TIP: Bradford win at 6/5 with Betfred.