As a competition, the League Cup has always struggled beneath the shadow of the FA Cup. In an attempt to ensure all 92 clubs took part, the 1967 final was played at Wembley for the first time, rather than the two-legged finals. A place in Europe for the Cup winners was also added.
Despite all this the competition still has many critics, who argue that it’s an unnecessary addition to the fixture list. This argument doesn’t really hold up when clubs go abroad on friendly tours or play exhibition matches during the seasons.
However, it isn’t just Premier League teams who have come to view the League Cup with indifference, as clubs from all divisions now use it as a means to play youngsters and fringe players.
Most fans want their club to compete to the best of its ability in whatever competition it is playing in, because winning is a habit. Sending out your strongest team will provide the best chance of achieving this.
Winning creates a confident squad, hopefully brings in fans, hopefully ensures progress into the next round and so generates more income keeping the Chairman and the board smiling. Last season's League Cup adventure saw the Tykes get through three rounds including a win over then Premier League Burnley.
Manchester United came to Oakwell in the 4th Round. Better than going out in the 1st Round, I think you'd agree.
However, this week some manager’s will question that logic and justify wholesale team changes on the basis of 'I need to look at all my squad' or 'we’re not going to win it, so what’s the point'. The point is that fans pay good money to support their side.
The point is, after losing the opening league fixture of the season, it would be good to get a win under the belt and boost the confidence of the players and all those associated with the club.
Ahead of tonight’s game against Rochdale, most Barnsley fans will be worried to hear Mark Robins come out and say he’ll pick a side to do a job.
Given the changes to the Barnsley side since last season, surely tonight is an opportunity to get the team he wants, playing the system he wants and getting the winning habit.
Not fielding a full strength team tonight and a possible loss creates even more pressure going into the Palace game on Saturday. Stability is required right now from the management. Let’s get to Oakwell in numbers tonight and cheer on the Tykes to a win.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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