So today we’ve found out who we’ll face as we defend the Checkatrade Trophy and for some, it means excitement.
There’s an element of ‘completed it mate’ about the EFL trophy this season. Last year we did it all, we lived the dream, took the stick and divided ourselves before reaching a lovely end whereby those who didn’t support the trophy wished those who did all the best at Wembley. It might sound twee, but it all turned out alright.
Given a choice, I’d not be in it again. It is a distraction, last year it was welcome but this year we could really do without the games. I won’t be saying that if we win it again and, given how competitive Danny is, we may well do. I’m just not sure I want two more games where we have half a stand open, a ‘friendly’ style atmosphere against reserves and kids. Still, it is what it is and we have three games to look forward to.
When I saw today’s draw my thoughts immediately went to Danny Nez and Jake Longworth, both Wolves fans. I know it’s their youth team but it won’t stop Wolves fan in Lincoln enjoying the game will it? Those night are surreal, playing the youth teams from the top flight, but I don’t find them insulting. We saw some decent kids last season, Dujon Sterling and Trevor Chabolah will both be playing at a level higher than us this season and I suspect they won’t be the only ones. It’s indicative of modern football and it’s not the worst thing.
Mansfield will probably be at home, given that we went there last year, meaning a first competitive trip to Scunthorpe in 12 years. Last time we met the Iron it was the Carling Cup of 2006, we were beaten 4-3 with Ian Baraclough and Steve Torpey scoring for them. The game went to extra time and if I recall, it was something of a thriller in which they led 2-0, we levelled before taking a 92nd minute lead through Freck before two late goals from them. doubtless the upcoming fixture will be far more low-key, but it’ll be ‘nice’ to visit Glumford again.
Our last Football league Trophy match with them was in 2001, another defeat. On that occasion it was Torpey again, scoring more against us than he ever did for us, and a brace for former Sky Sports pundit Peter Beagrie. The less said about him the better.
Last season the competition gave us some wonderful moments, that late winner again Peterborough followed by the breakaway fourth, the win at Field Mill, the late goal against Rochdale and of course, that penalty shoot out which finally took us to Wembley. It was controversial, it caused debate and divide but ultimately it gave us a day out at Wembley and more silverware.
If we have a repeat of that we’ll all be happy, as long as we finish top three in the league. You and I may prioritise the league, but believe me Danny Cowley will want to win anything he can. I hear he even get’s a face on if he loses on a tombola. Be warned.