THE BIG MATCH
Bradford City are this season's Football League cup specialists and they continue their Johnstone's Paint Trophy campaign with a match against Port Vale in the Northern Section on Tuesday.
The npower League 2 Bantams are yet to lose in any cup competition so far this term as they face Arsenal in the Capital One Cup quarter-finals next week and also have an FA Cup second round replay against Brentford to contend with after Saturday's 1-1 draw.
Attention will firmly be on their next assignment, though, which is against fellow League 2 side Port Vale, a team who they have already lost to this season, by a 1-0 scoreline in late September.
Despite their busy schedule, Bradford boss Phil Parkinson is hoping his side can keep their involvement in Trophy going, telling www.bradfordcityfc.co.uk: "It's certainly an important game for us Tuesday night.
"If we win against Port Vale then we're only two rounds away from a trip to Wembley.
"I'm not sure how many of the lads within the squad have played there already, but it's the home of English football and anyone would love to play in a final there.
"Every player just about has a dream of playing on that special pitch at that special stadium. Tuesday night's game can get us a step closer to that dream.
"We know it will be a very difficult game - Port Vale are a very good side - but we have to go there with belief, and we certainly will do.
"We go into every game trying to win, and Tuesday will be no different."
Micky Adams' men were also involved in the FA Cup at the weekend but suffered a heart-breaking late defeat at the hands of Sheffield United, despite leading 1-0 going into second-half injury time.
Adams remained upbeat, despite the loss, and he believes his side have a good chance of getting into the area semi-finals in a competition they have won twice in their history, since it's inception in 1983.
He told www.port-vale.co.uk: "We believe we can go all the way in this competition. A few of us at the club have been there in the final before at the Millennium [in 2001 when they beat Brentford 2-1 to lift the Trophy] and it was a fantastic occasion.
"We will be taking this game seriously. The lads who come in tonight are all experienced players, so it won't be an inexperienced side by any means.
"We went there [Valley Parade] earlier this season and I think we were a little bit fortunate [to beat them 1-0]. We had the one chance and scored and we defended excellently."
KEEP AN EYE ON
Two sides going well in their respective divisions meet at Roots Hall in the Southern Section as Southend United entertain Brentford.
The Shrimpers currently sit fifth in npower League 2 and are unbeaten in six, winning their last three. The Bees, meanwhile, also sit fifth, in npower League 1, and they travel to Essex with the momentum of an undefeated run of seven matches behind them.
Brentford also have a history in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy, finishing as runners-up to Carlisle United in the 2010/11 competition, and the experience of Wembley that day will certainly have the fans dreaming of another Trophy final.
Boss Uwe Rosler has plenty of injury concerns ahead of the trip to Roots Hall but he remains upbeat, telling www.brentfordfc.co.uk: "We will be putting out the strongest team we can and have prepared them for the match.
"We want to win the tie and go through. It will be difficult for us but we have the quality to come through.
"Players who have not played in many games recently will get a chance. They will be able to show me and our supporters what they can do. They will have a chance to prove themselves."
Southend's most recent match was against Bury in the FA Cup and a draw at Gigg Lane meant that a replay is required, adding another game to a busy Christmas schedule.
What that match did prove, though, is that Southend can mix it with club's in League 1, and boss Paul Sturrock is drawing on that fact heading into the tie with Brentford.
He told www.southendunited.co.uk: "Brentford are an excellent side and just like Bury they have been on a very good run recently that has seen them push into the League 1 Play-Off places.
"It's going to be a very difficult game because they are a top team who play some very good football, but having the home advantage will help us.
"We showed on Saturday against Bury that we can compete with League 1 sides so we want to do that again on Tuesday, except hopefully this time we can get the win.
"It's a good opportunity in this competition to enjoy a day out at Wembley, and the players know that, so hopefully we can get into the next round."
ELSEWHERE IN THE TROPHY
Two of npower League 1's heavyweights go head-to-head at the Ricoh Arena on Tuesday in the Northern Section quarter-finals as Coventry City host Sheffield United.
Both sides come into the match off the back of 2-1 wins in the FA Cup - Coventry beating Morecambe and the Blades winning against Port Vale - so will certainly be confident.
Sheffield United have the upper hand in league standings as they sit fourth, while the Sky Blues lie 15th, but Coventry have performed better recently. Including their FA Cup win, Mark Robins' men approach the game unbeaten in four, with three of those matches being wins.
There's also two other all-League 1 ties in the Northern Section as Crewe Alexandra welcome Doncaster Rovers to Gresty Road and Preston North End visit Bury.
Doncaster are one of the form teams in League 1, and sit second, but prior to the four successive victories they have picked up in the league, they lost two back-to-back matches, and one of them was against Steve Davis' Crewe, making this one an interesting battle.
Preston and Bury have also met already this term and it was Preston who came out on top with a 2-1 success. The Shakers are a much different proposition under the guidance of Kevin Blackwell, though, who took over after the latest meeting with Preston.
In the Southern Section, Oxford United make the long trek down to Home Park to play npower League 2 rivals Plymouth Argyle.
Both sides sit towards the bottom end of the table, just two places apart, although Oxford have a six-point advantage over their Trophy opponents. The U's have beat the Pilgrims already this term, too, and haven't lost to them since a meeting in January 2002.
Elsewhere, Yeovil Town host Wycombe Wanderers. The Chairboys have improved vastly under the guidance of Gareth Ainsworth and come into the tie with momentum having won their last three.
Finally, all the action is wrapped up on Wednesday night when Leyton Orient pay Northampton Town a visit. The League 2 Cobblers have lost just once in six, while the travelling O's have four wins on the bounce and sit mid-table in npower League 1. The two sides haven't met since April 2009 when Northampton ran out 3-1 winners.