Crawley Town host Norwich City in a high profile EFL Cup tie for the League 2 outfit, taking on Premier League opposition for just the fourth time in their history.
The Red Devils have started their season brightly taking seven points from their opening four games, including all three points from their trip to Leyton Orient last weekend. Gabriel Cioffi’s men have found goals easy to come by and hard to keep out this season but will fancy themselves to give Norwich a scare. This is the first time in four seasons that Crawley have reached the second round of any cup competition, courtesy of a 3-2 win at Walsall two weeks ago where goals from Filipe Morais, Tom Dallison and Ashley Nadesan saw them home.
The Canaries have made a decent fist of a tough start to life in the Premier League after a comprehensive defeat away at Liverpool they picked up their first points with a 3-0 hammering of Newcastle, before being unlucky to lose at home to Chelsea this weekend. Daniel Farke has said he will rotate his team but is wary of making too many changes ahead of a potential banana skin- Crawley will be hoping those changes include a rest for Finnish hotshot Teemu Pukki.
Crawley has Lewis Young available after suspension, whilst striker Mason Bloomfield, injured anyway, is ineligible against his parent club. Josh Dacres-Cogley is a doubt after limping off early at the weekend. Captain Jimmy Smith could be in line for a first appearance after recovering from a torn ACL.
Likely XI: Morris; Young, Tunnicliffe, Dallison, Sesay, Morais, Smith, Payne, Lubala; Ferguson, Palmer
Norwich is set to make “more than two or three changes” according to Daniel Farke following their trip to West London. Loanee Patrick Roberts is likely to feature, but Farke says it is “too soon” for Josip Drmic. Christoph Zimmermann could return after his injury lay off.
Likely XI: Fahrmann; Aarons, Hanley, Zimmermann, Lewis; Roberts, Amadou, Leitner, Vrancic, McClean; Idah
With the Reds likely to sit back and soak up pressure from the Canaries, the key to any upset will be twofold; firstly how well Crawley’s centre back pair of Jordan Tunnicliffe and Tom Dallison cope with Norwich’s attacking threat and quick passing, and how well forward Ollie Palmer can hold the ball up and bring the pacey Nathan Ferguson and Bez Lubala into play.
Both teams have adopted an attractive brand of football under their current managers, which could lead to an open game. Norwich will expect to have most of the ball, but if the League Two side can hit them on the break they may find some joy. Lubala is the Reds’ top scorer with four goals so far this campaign, and his end product is what Cioffi’s side sorely missed last season. If he can get on the ball in the final third expect him to make things happen. Norwich will look to their wingers to take advantage of Crawley’s leaky defence, were defending in the wide areas has been something of a problem for them this season.
What the managers have said
Daniel Farke (Nor): On a potential cup upset… “We are totally respectful for Crawley. We know we are the favourites but we don't take it as a given. You can always have surprises in the cup competitions. It's probably the most exciting game of their season. They will be highly motivated.”