THE BIG MATCH
The northern half of the draw for Round 2 of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy has paired big rivals Notts County and Chesterfield at Meadow Lane on Tuesday in what will surely be a tasty affair.
Both sides now play their football in npower League 1 having won promotion as League 2 champions in successive seasons but they have made contrasting starts to their respective 2011/12 campaigns.
The Magpies narrowly avoided relegation last season but are on the fringes of the Play-Off places so far this time around while the Spireites are 16th having stormed their way to the title and promotion last time around.
Notts defender Krystian Pearce was a runner-up in the tournament in 2009 with Scunthorpe United, losing in the final at Wembley to Luton Town, and he is keen to get back there again.
He told www.nottscountyfc.co.uk: "It's a good tournament and hopefully we can get to the final again, because I feel like I've got a bit of unfinished business there.
"We won the Play-Offs that season as well, so I was lucky enough to go to Wembley twice but we lost in the final of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy so it'd be nice to put that right with Notts.
"You're playing at Wembley in front of I think it was 60-70,000 people so I think it's definitely a great experience to play there. If you can lift the trophy there, I'm assuming it'd be a great feeling."
Chesterfield also have their eyes on a good run in the competition and would also dearly love to go all the way to Wembley.
They head to Meadow Lane on the back of two successive defeats in League 1, at home to Colchester United on Saturday just a week after going down 3-1 at Charlton Athletic.
Coach Mark Crossley told Spireites Player: "We're going to go there and we're going to try and win the game. You can be Wembley-bound at the end of it. We are going to go there and try and get back with our name in the hat.
"They [Notts] are a strong unit. We've had them watched a couple of times this season already and the reports that have come back are that they're a big, strong team, quite direct.
"Martin Allen has done a good job with them and deserves credit. They're having a good season. I know they got beat on Saturday but they had someone sent off after five minutes. I think all in all they're doing pretty well."
Tuesday's game is a 7.45pm kick-off.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
In the southern half of the draw, London rivals Charlton Athletic and Brentford go head to head on Wednesday night for a place in Round Three of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
The Sky Sports cameras will be present at the Valley as the Addicks look to get revenge for last year's exit at the hands of the Bees on penalties in the Southern Area semi-final.
Chris Powell's men are flying in npower League 1 and while a return to the Championship will be their ultimate ambition, they are also fancied to do well in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy.
Powell will weigh up his team selection with competition rules in mind but won't let anything overshadow his main aim for 2011-12.
He told www.cafc.co.uk: "Of course we are going to go for a win, whoever is out there, because there could be a trip to Wembley in the offing.
"I'm all about the League this year, though. I'm under no illusions what I have to do this year, and so far, so good."
Brentford, having beaten Charlton at Griffin Park in the competition last season, made it all the way to Wembley but lost 1-0 to Carlisle United in the final.
That was their third finish as runners-up in the various guises of the tournament having also been beaten in the 2001 and 1985 finals.
Bees Manager Uwe Rosler told www.brentfordfc.co.uk: "The game being on TV will give us extra motivation. There will be players who have maybe not featured so much and they can play on Sky.
"We will be up for the game. We take this competition very seriously and we want to go further."
Wednesday's televised game is a 7.45pm kick-off.
ELSEWHERE IN ROUND 2
Bragging rights are the order of many of the week's Round 2 ties with plenty of ties packed full of local intrigue.
In the northern half of the draw it's all about Yorkshire as Huddersfield Town take on Bradford City (7pm kick-off) while Rotherham United welcome Sheffield United to the Don Valley Stadium.
Huddersfield were beaten in last year's Northern Area final over two legs by Carlisle United, who went on to lift the Johnstone's Paint Trophy at Wembley but are already out of this season's tournament.
Only 15 miles separate the Terriers from Bradford but the visitors travel down to the Galpharm Stadium struggling in League 2, sitting just outside the relegation zone and still without a win under Manager Phil Parkinson after letting slip a two-goal lead to draw at Burton Albion on Saturday.
Their hosts, meanwhile, went to Brentford and picked up a resounding 4-0 victory to extend their unbeaten npower League 1 run to 36 games - back even further than their Johnstone's Paint Trophy exit last season.
Attention will also be on Sheffield as United leave Bramall Lane to play an away fixture - in their own city.
The League 1 high-flyers make the short journey to the Don Valley Stadium, which is still Rotherham's temporary home and will play host as the 1996 winners look to make progress against their higher-ranked opponents.
Tuesday's remaining Northern Area games see Scunthorpe United host Oldham Athletic (7pm), Rochdale take on Walsall (7.15pm), Morecambe welcome Preston to the Globe Arena (7.30pm), and Accrington Stanley host Tranmere Rovers.
There aren't really any local derbies in the Southern Area fixtures on Tuesday night but that takes nothing away from what the draw has thrown up.
Southend United currently top the npower League 2 table and make the relatively short journey to the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium to take on Dagenham & Redbridge (7.45pm kick-off) as they look to go one better than their efforts in 2004 and 2005, when they were beaten in successive finals.
AFC Wimbledon, promoted from the Conference last season, welcome Stevenage - promoted from League 2 in 2010/11, their first year as a Football League club - to Kingsmeadow in what looks like being an interesting game between two sides recently out of the non-league ranks (7.45pm).
There are all-League 2 encounters with Gillingham taking on Barnet (7pm) and Aldershot Town welcoming Oxford United (7.45pm), an all-League 1 fixture between Bournemouth and Yeovil Town (7.45pm), and it's League 1 versus League 2 as Exeter City host Swindon Town (7.15pm) and Wycombe Wanderers host Cheltenham Town (7.30pm).
As well as Wednesday's televised game between Charlton Athletic and Brentford, there's another local derby as Crewe Alexandra take on Macclesfield (7.30pm).
For the full list of televised games please click here
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