The countdown to the English league season continues with the first round of the 2012-13 League Cup, with two former winners in action on Monday
The opening weekend of the new English football season continues on Monday [Tuesday morning Australian time] with three more games in the League Cup - now known as the Capital Cup ‑ ahead of the start of the English Premier League on Saturday.
There are no Premier League teams featured on Monday, but there are two teams in action with genuine hopes of joining the EPL elite next season in Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday ‑ both former winners of this competition.
And the two famous old clubs should get their seasons off to a winning start and progress to the second round of the League Cup by beating Fleetwood Town and Oldham Athletic respectively on Monday night.
Both are warm favourites but still good value at online bookmaker Luxbet, with Forest at $2.10 to win in 90 minutes away to Fleetwood Town.
For those who need an introduction, Town are a small Lancashire club that this season is celebrating its debut as part of the football league after winning promotion to League Two following their Conference title win last season.
Forest, who are still the only English club ever to have won the European Cup in successive seasons back in the Brian Clough era in 1979 and 1980, are tipped to be one of the big improvers in the Championship this season.
They may have finished a distant 19th in England's second-tier competition last season but, after recently being bought by the Al-Hasawi family of Kuwait, there are hopes in Nottingham that the better times are ahead.
And if Forest, who won this competition in 1978, 1979, 1989 and 1990, are to mount a legitimate challenge for promotion in the Championship this season, then surely they must beat the likes of little Fleetwood Town in the League Cup..
|Sheffield Wednesday to beat Oldham in the League Cup at $1.96 at Luxbet
||Preston North End to beat Huddersfield in the League Cup at $2.70 at Luxbet|
Similarly Sheffield Wednesday [whose last major trophy came in this competition in 1991 when they beat Manchester United in the final] are also hoping the glory days might soon be back after, like Forest, having fallen on hard times in recent seasons.
The Owls won promotion back to the Championship for this season after finishing runners-up in League One last season, but based on their pre-season form look a big chance of making an instant impact back in England's second tier competition this season.
Wednesday have already beaten one EPL club in Reading in a friendly and drawn with another in West Brom, and beat Oldham both times last season when both clubs were in League One.
The final game is much tougher to predict, with League One side Preston North End hosting newly promoted Championship side Huddersfield.
But Preston are good value at home considering they beat Huddersfield there last season 1-0 when both clubs were playing in League One, with Preston to repeat that scoreline this time around paying a healthy $8.75 at Luxbet on their correct-score betting market.