Imps Handed Tough EFL Trophy Group

The group stage of the EFL Trophy has been partially drawn, with City set to face Derby and Notts County.

One game will be at home, the other away, and both are unlikely to be easy to navigate. Paul Warne has lifted the trophy once before, winning it in his last season as Millers’ boss in League One. With a decent-sized squad at Derby, he is likely to have a strong set of reserves than Doncaster or Barnsley did last season. The competition is ‘new’ to Notts County after their non-league exile, and teams coming up from the National League tend to put out stronger sides – the year Rotherham won it, they beat recently promoted Sutton in the final. Remember, we also won it after the season we were promoted, and Salford made the final the year after they were promoted.

Ginnelly scores versus Notts County in the Checkatrade Trophy – Credit Graham Burrell

Of course, Notts have played in this competition before – we beat them 2-1 in the season we won the trophy, a rare cup victory for us against the Magpies. Previously, we’d met them four times in the League Cup, losing 4-0 on aggregate in 1994/95 (Devon White, a former Imp, hit all four in two 2-0 defeats) and winning 4-3 on aggregate in the 1981/82 League Cup (drawing 1-1 and winning 3-2). We also played them in the Football League Group Cup that season, an early version of the trophy, drawing 1-1.

As for Derby, meetings between us and them have been rare. In drawing them in this competition, they become one of the few clubs we have played in the league, FA Cup, League Cup and EFL Trophy – although the FA Cup matches date back to 1902 and 1907, both defeats for City, The 1968 League Cup games are famous, but we also played them in the Carling Cup twice, winning 3-1 in 2004 and losing 3-1 in 2008.

Last season, the Rams were eliminated from the competition with one win (3-1 against Grimsby), one draw (1-1 with Mansfield, lost on penalties) and a defeat (3-1 against Man City U21s). They played relatively strong teams in both games.