THE BIG MATCH
The road to Wembley begins for npower League 1 and npower League 2 clubs this week as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy Round 1 kicks off.
There's no doubting where the biggest match of the round comes from as rivals Oxford United and Swindon Town meet at the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday.
The Robins, who were runners-up to Chesterfield in last season's competition, left the U's behind in League 2 as they were promoted last term, but the Johnstone's Paint Trophy has provided the rivals with an opportunity to pit their wits against each other once more.
Both sides come into the fixture off the back of heavy league defeats with Swindon going down 4-1 against Preston North End on Sunday and Oxford losing 3-1 to newly-promoted York City on Saturday.
After watching his side lose, Oxford boss Chris Wilder told Yellows Player: "Without being disrespectful we gifted the game away and were the architects of our own downfall.
"It's a game we should have won, and definitely one we should have got something out of, but we haven't."
The result saw the U's surrender their 100 per cent league record and Wilder will be after a reaction from his side in the cup encounter.
And the manager will take confidence from the fact that he masterminded two victories over Paolo Di Canio's men last term.
"We have to play well, there are no two ways of looking at it, but there is no need for me to have to cajole and gee the players up. The players that were here last year know the atmosphere at both games. We had two good results in those and are looking to make it three on the spin." the 44-year-old added.
"It's a great draw. If you beat your local rivals you can't beat that feeling, but it will be a tough one for us."
Most of the post-match reaction from Swindon's defeat to Preston surrounded the controversial substitution of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, but Paolo Di Canio admitted his side's performance was poor.
He also said there is likely to be alterations for the game against Oxford.
"In some way, we made the worst performance without dignity, commitment and desire," Di Canio told www.swindontownfc.co.uk.
"We will change the side a lot for Oxford and some of our players are not strong enough to play eight, nine or 10 games in a row at the level we need.
"We have done very well until now but now we must pay something. The likes of Simon Ferry will play their part against Oxford."
KEEP AN EYE ON
There's also match between two rivals in the northern section of the draw as Accrington Stanley host Morecambe in an all-Lancashire affair.
In total contrast from Oxford and Swindon, Accrington and Morecambe both come into the Trophy fixture off the back of 3-0 away league wins.
Stanley won against Cheltenham Town with goals from Pagraig Amond, George Miller and Romuald Boco, and boss Paul Cook insists the side he puts out against Morecambe will be strong, as the Johnstone's Paint Trophy is a competition he wants to do well in.
"We're carrying one or two injuries from Saturday but I guarantee supporters that whatever team we end up putting on the pitch will be competitive," Cook commented on www.accringtonstanley.co.uk.
"It's a competition that we're looking to progress in and we've got one or two fringe players that think they should be in the first-team.
"We'll pay Morecambe the utmost respect. They've had a fantastic start to the season and I've watched them already and seen that they're a good side with good players.
"We're concerned about Accrington though, we're preparing properly and looking forward to the game."
The Shrimps, meanwhile, overcame Bristol Rovers at the weekend, a result that extended their fine form away from home.
That form is something they will need to draw upon if they are to get a result at the Crown Ground, a stadium they have never won at.
In the last 10 Football League meetings between the two, Stanley have recorded seven wins, while three have ended level. They have never met in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, though.
Morecambe boss Jim Bentley is keen to end their poor record against their Lancashire rivals.
"It's a short trip but it's a big game for us and one that we're really looking forward to," he commented in an interview, also on www.accringtonstanley.co.uk.
"Hopefully we can get a result that the fans deserve after many years of hurt of going to Accrington and not really getting much. We'll be doing all we can to make sure we get a good result there.
"I don't know if the phrase would be bogey team but certainly Accrington have had the upper hand over us for the last few years since I've been at the football club and it's about time that changed.
ELSEWHERE IN THE TROPHY
Chesterfield begin their defence of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy with a Round 1 match against the team they defeated in last year's Area Final - Oldham Athletic.
The Spireites beat the Latics 2-1 at home, then 1-0 away, and triumphed 2-0 in the Final at Wembley against Swindon Town to lift the Trophy.
A lot has changed since then, though, with Chesterfield relegated to npower League 2 last season and manager John Sheridan being dismissed after a poor start this term. Oldham boss Paul Dickov will no doubt be after more from his side against the Spireites this time around.
Portsmouth are appearing in the Trophy for the first time ever and they are up against south coast rivals Bournemouth in the live Sky Sports TV game.
Pompey have a rich history in cup competitions and won the FA Cup as recently as 2008. Bournemouth, meanwhile, are no strangers to the Trophy having won it in 1983/84 - the year of its creation - when it was known as the Associate Members' Cup.
Exeter City are fresh off the back of a 3-0 league win against Burton Albion and they are up against fellow npower League 2 side Aldershot.
There are three other all-League 2 clashes as Rochdale host Fleetwood Town, who are also appearing in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy for the first time, York City visit Rotherham United and Southend United meet AFC Wimbledon.
Carlisle United have won the Trophy twice, most recently in 2011, and they face Preston North End in the opening round this time around.
Port Vale are the only other club in Round 1 to lift the Trophy twice and they host npower League 1 side Tranmere Rovers, who have made a flying start to the season by picking up 10 points from four games.
Yeovil Town have also made a good start and are level on points with Rovers in npower League 1. The Glovers will want to take their league form into the Johnstone's Paint Trophy as they travel to Bristol Rovers.
2008 winners Milton Keynes Dons have a short trip to contend with as they visit Sixfields Stadium to play Aidy Boothroyd's Northampton Town. This will be the Cobblers' third game in six days having played Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Capital One Cup last Thursday and Plymouth Argyle in npower League 2 on Saturday.
The remaining fixtures in the First Round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy see Burton Albion come up against Coventry City, Crawley Town host Gillingham, Stevenage meet Dagenham and Redbridge and Scunthorpe United take on Notts County.