Having reached the Carabao Cup Quarter-Finals last season, Oxford United face a tough test if they are to replicate that run as they welcome Watford to the Kassam Stadium.
This clash marks Watford’s first competitive visit to the Kassam Stadium as they enter this competition in the second round, having received a bye in the first round by virtue of not finishing bottom of last season’s Premier League.
The winner of this tie will visit the winner of Newport County’s clash against Cambridge United in the next round.
Josh Ruffels is ruled out for Oxford United after suffering a shoulder injury during Saturday’s two goal defeat at Lincoln, which doesn’t require surgery.
Ruffels will be joined on the sidelines by Alex Rodriguez Gorrin who is out with an ankle injury.
Rob Atkinson meanwhile is available after successfully appealing his red card at the weekend for a late injury-time challenge.
Watford manager, Vladimir Ivic could hand starts to some of the Hornets players who missed Friday’s win over Middlesbrough, although Troy Deeney remains ruled out with a knee injury.
Ivic however have remained coy on whether any of Daryl Janmaat (knee), Adam Masina (tendon) Isaac Success (Achilles), Gerard Deulofeu (knee), Ismaila Sarr (fitness) plus Will Hughes, Etienne Capoue, Roberto Pereyra, Andre Gray and Danny Welbeck (all unspecified) could feature
- This is Oxford United’s first-ever League Cup clash against Watford, although they have met four times previously in cup competitions with the Us winning just once (W1, D1, L2).
- Watford are unbeaten in their last 14 trips to Oxford United, although all of their previous away clashes took place at the Us old Manor Ground last century (W5, D9).
- The Hornets have won just one of their last three League Cup matches against League One opposition, albeit with all three clashes having taken place at home rather than away.
Defending was very contrasting between these teams at the weekend because Oxford were just defensively poor in terms of man marking at Lincoln and limited to long range shots, whereas Watford produced a stubborn defensive display to beat Middlesbrough whilst ensuring that they were clinical in early set pieces which proved the difference for them in the end.
I therefore am expecting both teams to make changes but given Watford’s strong away record at Oxford United, there surely will only be one winner and particularly if some of the injured players return.
Prediction: Oxford United 0-2 Watford
Result: Oxford United 1-1 Watford (Watford wins 3-0 on penalties)