PICK OF THE NORTH

Two of League 2's high fliers go head to head at Gigg Lane as Bury host Shrewsbury Town. Two points and one place separate the sides in the league table so this one is likely to be a close affair.

Alan Knill has seen his side lose just one of their last nine matches, culminating in both he and striker Ryan Lowe being nominated for the npower Manager and Player of the Month awards for September and defender Phil Picken is confident that form can continue.

Speaking to the Bury Times he said: "It's a good competition to progress in - if you do well in it you start to gather momentum and, of course, there is the chance to play at Wembley.

"I don't see any reason why we can't do well. We are doing well in the league and, even though we would have taken the seven points we have taken from the last three matches, we are disappointed we didn't take all three on Saturday - such is the level of expectation in the dressing room."

Shrewsbury go into the game with just one win from their last five but still sit fourth in the League 2 table.

League 2 leaders Port Vale have the chance to test themselves as they travel to Brunton Park to take League 1 highfliers Carlisle United.

Vale have won nine of their first 13 matches, including five away from home, but they were beaten at Oxford United on Saturday. Despite the set back they remain top of the table and speaking after the game Micky Adams urged everyone to stay calm, as he told the Sentinel:

"We're still top of the league, so we're not in crisis.

"It will only be a crisis in certain people's heads and the doubters and the cynics will have a field day.

"But there's no crisis over confidence or belief. We had an off-day, got our backsides spanked and have to take the defeat and move on, but my message to the fans is we can get better and it's not the end of the world."

Carlisle currently sit fourth in the League 1 table but have drawn two and lost one of their last three home games and failed to score but Manager Greg Abbott knows it's not due to a lack of trying, as he told the Carlisle News & Star: "I never criticise players for missing chances. I would be disappointed if we were not creating.

"Our second half performance (on Saturday) deserved a goal. I'm slightly biased but that's what I thought."

PICK OF THE SOUTH

Colchester United take on Wycombe Wanderers in what was last season a League 1 fixture. Wycombe have since been relegated but will go into the match on the back of consecutive wins over Barnet and Stevenage.

The U's have only been beaten once this season, that coming away at Sunderland in the Carling Cup but they have drawn seven of their 10 league games, now defender Magnus Okuonghae hopes they can start turning more into wins.

Speaking to BBC Essex he said: "It plays on our mind, but we have to be positive.

"It could go the other way and we start losing games and not creating any chances. We're going to be positive and hope for it to turn around.

"The morale is up there, football's a roller-coaster of emotions and we haven't lost yet, we haven't tasted that bitterness of defeat."

The Chairboys look set to rest a few first-team regulars with skipper Gareth Ainsworth likely to sit the game out however Assistant Manager Martin Kuhl insists it is a match they are taking very seriously.

He told www.wycombewanderers.co.uk: "It's an important cup and we want to win every game. We know it's a derby for the fans and we want to keep going, win and perform well.

"People talk about the competition being a hindrance but if you get to Wembley it's great."

Managerless Hereford United host Exeter City, looking for their first win since the opening day of the season when they beat Crewe Alexandra.

Their recent run of form has cost Manager Simon Davey his job and Physio and former Bulls star Jamie Pitman has been placed in caretaker charge.

41 places separate the two sides and the Grecians have tasted defeat just once in their last eight matches and striker Jamie Cureton is pleased to see the side getting the plaudits they deserve:

"I definitely don't think teams will be taking us lightly," he told the Express and Echo.

"Our results and performance mean other teams are going to be more wary of us this season.

"Having a good home record is key but we are also picking up results on the road as well."

ON THE BOX

There are two live games from Round 2, starting on Tuesday night when the Milton Keynes Dons host Charlton Athletic.

The two sides only met a week ago, when they went head to head in the npower League 1, at the Valley. Paul Benson's first goal for the Addicks, just four minutes from time, was enough to secure all three points for Phil Parkinson's side.

Dons are out to avenge that league defeat and Assistant Manager John Gorman is anticipating a different sort of match this time around, as explained to MK Dons Player: "We are putting out a strong team because we want to advance in the competition. As a club we have done well from it in the past and the Manager has instilled in the boys how important every game we play is.

"The fans will see both teams try and win the game because there has to be a winner on the night so we're expecting it will be a more open than the recent league fixture. Everybody wants to do well in this competition because there is a big prize at the end of it."

As well as wanting to progress Charlton will also be looking for an improvement following their 2-1 defeat at Brentford on Saturday. The Bees were bottom going into the day's play but went 2-0 up thanks to goals from Gary Alexander and Toumani Diagouraga. Charlton did pull a goal back but couldn't find an equaliser, leaving Parkinson fuming.

Speaking to www.cafc.co.uk he said: "We were second best in the first half. We looked like a team which had had a win on Tuesday and just thought it could turn up and play.

"No team in this division has got enough quality just to turn up and get the ball down and play. You have got to compete and roll your sleeves up and win the first ball and win the second ball first of all, and then play on the back of that."

The second live game comes from Hillsborough on Wednesday as Sheffield Wednesday host local rivals Chesterfield.

Wednesday go into the game in 10th place in League 1 following Saturday's 2-0 win away at Notts County, their first win in six matches and goalkeeper Nicky Weaver knows now they need to do more at home, starting on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post he said: "We would like to turn Hillsborough into a fortress but, at the minute, teams are relishing coming here and enjoying coming to a big stadium with a nice, big pitch.

"We want teams to fear coming here but as I say, at the minute, they are looking forward to it."

Chesterfield sit second in League 2 having lost just once in their last 10 matches and Manager John Sheridan will be relishing a return to his former club.

The Spireites boss spent seven years at Sheffield Wednesday, scoring 33 goals in 247 appearances including the winner in the 1991 Rumbelows Cup Final against Manchester United.

Speaking to Spireites Player before the match though he was quick to play down the significance of his return and instead chose to focus on his team:

"It's a great match for us and we'll take a good following up there. I am glad they are in the competition because it is probably the biggest draw we could have got.

"It will be a good test against a team I think we'll get promotion out of the division. We know we have players who can cause teams problems and while we're doing okay it is a good time for us to go there and hopefully give them a hard game."

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