Ipswich trip will motivate Bristol Rovers - Mark McGhee
BRISTOL Rovers have been handed an unfavourable 400-mile round trip to face Ipswich Town in the Capital One League Cup just days before the start of the League Two campaign.
Mark McGhee's side will go to Portman Road on Tuesday, August 14, before the league season starts the following Saturday, although the Football League have confirmed that the first round games can be moved to Saturday, August 11 should both clubs involved agree.
That possibility is something McGhee said Rovers would have to consider when asked yesterday after being drawn against the club furthest away from any of the other 19 clubs they could have been paired with in the regionalised draw.
Moving the game to the Saturday, however, is complicated by Rovers already having a pre-season fixture arranged against Coventry.
McGhee, however, welcomed the draw despite the obvious logistical difficulties involved, admitting: "It's not ideal from a timing or travelling point of view – especially if our first league game of the season was to be away from home in the far reaches of the north on the Saturday.
"Equally, it is a fantastic place for us to go. It is a game against Championship opposition and is one that we can use as a focus and motivation throughout the weeks of pre-season.
"Portman Road is a brilliant place to play, I've always loved going there. It's a great pitch and there is always a good atmosphere, so I'm looking forward to that one already because it will be a good test for us."
Bristol City, meanwhile, could welcome former manager Keith Millen back to Ashton Gate after being handed a home tie against League Two side Gillingham.
Millen, who was relieved of his duties at City following a disappointing start to the last campaign, has been interviewed by the manager-less Gills as they search for a successor to Andy Hessenthaler.
Current City boss Derek McInnes was pleased with the home draw so close to the start of the season.
"Like with all cup draws, you hope to be given a home tie and I'm pleased we've got that," said McInnes.
"We'll prepare properly for the fixture and give Gillingham every respect. We want to do far better in cup competitions than in previous campaigns. With the right focus and performances, we can do that."
Capital One Cup first round draw (ties to be played the week commencing Monday, August 13, although, if mutually agreed, the Football League will consider requests to play on Saturday or Sunday, August 11 and 12): Derby v Scunthorpe, Rochdale v Barnsley, Port Vale v Burnley, Notts County v Bradford, Hull v Rotherham, Fleetwood v Nottingham Forest, Carlisle v Accrington Stanley, Doncaster v York, Crewe v Hartlepool, Bury v Middlesbrough, Chesterfield v Tranmere, Sheffield United v Burton, Blackpool v Morecambe, Leeds v Shrewsbury, Preston v Huddersfield, Oldham v Sheffield Wednesday, Cheltenham v Milton Keynes Dons, Ipswich v Bristol Rovers, Stevenage v AFC Wimbledon, Exeter v Crystal Palace, Yeovil v Colchester, Birmingham v Barnet, Bristol City v Gillingham, Northampton v Cardiff, Plymouth v Portsmouth, Wolves v Aldershot, Walsall v Brentford, Millwall v Crawley, Torquay v Leicester, Dagenham & Redbridge v Coventry, Peterborough v Southend, Swindon v Brighton, Watford v Wycombe, Charlton v Leyton Orient, Oxford v AFC Bournemouth.