Carling Cup Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Crawley Town

Crystal Palace in actionWith the new Football League campaign finally underway following a summer devoid of a major international tournament affecting us, we’re right back in the thick of it with the beginning of this season’s Carling Cup.

Last year saw Birmingham City produce a real upset in the final as they stunned Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley Stadium thanks to a late goal from Obafemi Martins.

Because of the Blues’ triumph followed by their subsequent relegation, it meant they were given a bye due to their Europa League commitments and a preliminary round had to take place with one less place available in the First Round.

That took place between Crawley Town and AFC Wimbledon, the two promoted sides to League Two that had never played in the competition before.

Crawley ran out winners by beating the Dons 3-2, and Steve Evans’ side have been rewarded with an away trip to Championship outfit Crystal Palace.

It’s been an amazing 12 months for the West Sussex side. Last summer, there was a real danger they could go out of business after being issued with a winding-up order by HMRC.

Thankfully, investment was found and the debts, estimated to be around £1 million, were cleared. This allowed the club to go on a spending spree that would make them a force in the Blue Square Premier.

They lived up to the expectations that followed, going on to win the title, and finishing 15 points clear of the chasing pack.

The Red Devils started life in league football with a respectable 2-2 draw at Port Vale, and many are tipping them for another promotion push.

Evans has assembled a squad with much experience within the Football League, epitomised in the likes of Sergio Torres, and captain Pablo Mills.

But much is made of their prolific striker Matt Tubbs. The 27 year-old scored a staggering 40 goals in Crawley’s march to promotion last campaign, and is capable of repeating his goalscoring exploits this time around.

With a trip to Selhurst Park in store, the League Two side will very much be the underdogs against their higher-league opponents. However, they have plenty of experience from 2011 alone when it comes to giant-killing.

Crawley made it to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup, having knocked out the likes of Derby County and Torquay United to set up a David vs. Goliath clash with Manchester United.

They were eventually knocked out despite an impressive display at Old Trafford, narrowly losing 1-0. Now they’ll be hoping to stun the Eagles tonight and resume their cup upsets once again.

So what do you think? Will Crawley cause an upset at Selhurst Park? Or will Palace prove too strong for their League Two opponents? Also, what other upsets do you think could take place over the next few days? Let us know your thoughts.

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