Tonight Birmingham City take on Portsmouth in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
With the EFL Cup being used as a chance to rest players in the past, it will be interesting to see what route Pep Clotet goes down with his team selection. Will he go all guns blazing and try to make a success of the cup competitions, or will he use to opportunity to experiment a little bit?
Personally, I’m not going to advocate for a full set of changes to the starting eleven from the weekend. Although I do think that just a few tweaks here and there can be made to get the balance right of a competitive squad as well as giving some players a rest.
First things first, I’d like to see Moha Ramos be given chance in goal. I’ve said before when discussing goalkeepers that I think Ramos is going to have a part to play this season and getting him some game time in the cup would be a great way to give him his first taste of English football.
In defence, I think this is a great chance for loan signing Jake Clarke-Salter to also get some game time under his belt. He didn’t make it off the bench on Saturday, but I’ve got high hopes for him and it will be good to see what he’s got in the tank.
Next up I’d quite like to see Ivan Sunjic play from the start this time. He was on the bench for the game against Brentford on Saturday and only came on for the last twenty minutes. Signed too late for the final pre-season friendly against Brighton, so perhaps he was held back and brought on so he wasn’t thrown in at the deep end as it were straight away. 90 minutes against a good side from a lower division will help ease him into English football that little bit more and give him valuable time to get familiar with the rest of the team and how they set up.
Other than that, I’d keep things as they are. Portsmouth are a very capable side, they finished 4th in League One last year and added to their firepower by signing John Marquis, who has reached double figures in each of the last three seasons, so this won’t be an easy game for Birmingham. However, if they keep up the momentum that they gained from that hard-fought win in West London, they should be able to get through to the next round.