Aston Villa start their Carabao Cup campaign tonight as make the 350 mile round trip to take on League Two side Barrow.
The tie is a huge deal for Barrow and it has also been chosen by Sky Sports which will only help the club financially and it is a measure of their climb up the league pyramid.
Barrow were founded in 1901 and are based in Barrow-in-Furness where they call Holker Street their home.
Originally a member of the Lancashire Combination League, they entered the Football League in 1921.
The Bluebirds highest league position was eighth in the Third Division in the 1967/1968 season.
Just four years late they were voted out of the football league and remained in the top two tiers of non-league football until their won the National League in 2020.
They won the F.A. Trophy in 1990 and 2010.
Last season, Barrow secured their place in League Two, finishing 21st and five points off the relegation places.
The club are managed by Mark Cooper who had links to the Midlands having played for Birmingham City and numerous non league sides in the region.
He has managed the likes of Swindon Town, Peterborough United and Notts County in the past.
This will be the first meeting between the two sides and both teams have got off to mixed starts.
Barrow started the season with a 1-0 defeat away to Stevenage and quickly made up for the loss with a 1-0 win at home against Scunthorpe in the First Round of the Carabao Cup.
They followed this up with a 3-2 win against newly promoted Hartlepool before a goalless draw with Exeter and most recently a 2-1 defeat away to Harrogate Town.
The cup should present Dean Smith’s side with a realistic opportunity to qualify for Europe and the fans will hope for a good cup run.
Last season failed to get anywhere near the previous season when the Villans lost in the final to Manchester City despite a season in which they escaped relegation on the final day of the season.
Aston Villa Team News
Aston Villa will once again have to face multiple absences with Ollie Watkins (knee) remaining out and Bertrand Traore (hamstring) has had a setback from his return. Morgan Sanson (knee) has not yet played competitively with Trezeguet (ACL) remaining a long term injury and Keinan Davis also still sidelined.
The game gives Dean Smith an opportunity to test some of his squad players and the likes of Kourtney Hause, Axel Tuanzebe and Jaden Philogene-Bidace could all come in.
Wesley may get a start after a long term injury as Danny Ings will likely be rested ahead of the weekend and the next Premier League game against Brentford.
Carney Chukwuemeka may also come into the midfield and Jed Steer will be likely to start in goal.
Possible starting line up:
Steer, Guilbert, Tuanzebe, Hause, Targett, Nakamba, Chukwuemeka, Philogene-Bidace, J Ramsey, El Ghazi, Wesley
Barrow Team News
Former Aston Villa youth prospect Dimitri Sea may miss out after being taken off with a suspected concussion against Exeter, however he may push to come back to try and prove a point to his former employers.
With Sea absent, Offrande Zanzala will look to continue to build upon his recent form having already scored twice this season.
Possible starting line up:
Farman, Brown, Ellis, Grayson, Hutton, Banks, White, Brough, Gordon, Zanzala, Williams
One to watch:
As previously mentioned, Offrande Zanzala has made a good start to the season scoring twice in three league games.
The 24 year old Congolese forward recently joined the club having started his career at Derby County before loan spells and then transfers to Crewe Alexandra and Carlisle United.
With the game be televised and it being Premier League opposition, it provides a chance for Zanzala to show his worth.
Head to Head record:
No previous meetings
AVILLAFAN MATCH PREDICTION
Dean Smith’s squad will all be out to show their professionalism and will want to avoid what would be seen as an embarrassing defeat.
This coupled with the chance to go on a cup run and target a shot at European qualification should be more than enough to secure Villa a comfortable win.
Barrow 0-3 Aston Villa
Tip of the day
After an impressive preseason, Jaden Philogene-Bidace could be a good option to score, combine him to score and Villa to win and you can get odds of 9/5.
Last weeks tip: Aston Villa to win with -1 goal handicap (WON)
2/2 (100% success so far)
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