Watford have been drawn away to Tottenham Hotspur in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup.
The Hornets earned a tie against the Spurs after beating Reading 2-0 on Wednesday. Tottenham, meanwhile, were automatically inducted into the Third Round due to their status as European competitors.
Game to be played at Stadium MK
Having seen the construction of their new stadium, New White Hart Lane, take longer than anticipated, Spurs have, again, agreed to play at Wembley Stadium until the project is complete.
However, the iconic venue is not available for the match - which will take place on the week commencing September 24th - due to a prior organised event.
Therefore, the Tottenham board have applied for “special dispensation” to play the game at Stadium MK, the home of League Two side Milton Keynes Dons.
In an official statement following the draw, the club said: “As a result of both our new stadium and Wembley being unavailable during this week, we have applied to the EFL board for special dispensation to play this tie at Stadium MK.
“Consideration was given to a number of different football stadia and for a variety of reasons – capacity, availability, facilities, accessibility, pitch quality and clubs still being in the competition themselves – it was simply not possible to secure a neutral venue within the M25.”
Watford’s home ground, Vicarage Road, was under consideration for to host the tie, however, Tottenham decided to look elsewhere as the number of fans they would be able to take to the game would not be befitting of their status as the drawn home team.
“We appreciate that Stadium MK may not be an ideal destination for every fan to get to on a weekday evening,” the club continued. “However the Club felt it would not be beneficial to request a reverse of the fixture as it would have resulted in no more than a 10 per cent allocation of tickets for our supporters at the venue of our opponents.
“In contrast, we shall have a ticket allocation of up to 90 per cent at a neutral venue, ensuring greater access for our fans.”
A potential exit pathway for the Hornets?
Javi Gracia selected a team of reserves to face Reading in the Second Round, yet this was no hindrance to Watford’s 100% record and sealed a perfect record for the Hornets in August as they prevailed 2-0 over the Championship side.
Tottenham Hotspur, though, will doubtless prove tougher opponents than the Berkshire outfit. Managed by Mauricio Pochettino, Spurs are one of England’s — and Europe’s — elite teams.
While the Argentine may not field a full-strength side against Watford due to his priorities lying outside the Carabao Cup, any Tottenham eleven is almost certainly capable of prevailing over any Hornets eleven.
Yet Gracia insists that no matter how strong or weak the opposition, the objective is to win every game in each competition.
“For me all the competitions are important,” the Spaniard said before the encounter with Reading. “Not only the Premier League. I think it’s the best way to always do our best. All the focus is on the next game and next competition.
“We are playing in the Carabao Cup and trying to do our best and trying to get good results and continue playing games in the competition."