Aston Villa begin their Carabao Cup campaign on Tuesday night as we travel to League Two side Barrow hoping to advance to the third round.
After bouncing back from defeat at Watford with a win over Newcastle Utd at the weekend, Dean Smith will hope to see his side build on that result and start to put together some good form.
With Brentford on Saturday, the Villa boss will likely make a number of changes to his starting XI to rest key players while also trying to get enough minutes round the squad to ensure everyone is fully fit.
Regardless of who plays though, Smith will expect his side to have enough quality to come through this tricky test and book our place in the next round. As for Barrow, they secured a 1-0 win over Scunthorpe Utd to get past the first round, and boss Mark Cooper will no doubt hope to claim a major scalp this week.
Villa have never played Barrow in a competitive game previously, and so there is no head-to-head record to analyse to see who has perhaps had the upper hand in previous meetings.
Nevertheless, the key difference is our history and pedigree in this competition having won it five times, albeit the last time we lifted the League Cup was back in 1996.
While our Premier League campaign will be the priority this year, it’s imperative that we enjoy a good cup run too, not only to ensure we see the whole squad utilised but also to try and end our wait for silverware as we try and take the next step towards being a competitive side at the top level.
Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore are out with injury, while it remains to be seen if Leon Bailey, Morgan Sanson and others are included as they continue to recover from setbacks of their own.
Barrow are likely to be missing former Villa Academy player Dimitri Sea, Matty Platt is recovering from a back problem, while Mike Jones, Jamie and Tom Beadling are also out.
Villa XI vs Barrow: Steer; Guilbert, Tuanzebe, Hause, Targett; Hourihane, Nakamba, Chukwuemeka; Philogene-Bidace, J. Ramsey, Wesley.