Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United will face a trip to Kingsmeadow in Round Two of the 2018/2019 Carabao Cup after they were drawn with AFC Wimbledon in this evening’s draw.
The tie, pulled out of the bowl early on by Mick McCarthy and Chris Waddle live across the Sky Sports network before the Round One clash between Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday, will be the first-ever time that the teams two divisions apart have met.
It will be played in the week commencing Monday 27 August, either on the Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night, depending on whether or not it is selected for live television coverage.
There is much promise for the Hammers in this competition this year, after they reached the quarter-finals in the past two seasons under Slaven Bilic, being knocked out by Manchester United and Arsenal respectively.
However, it is unknown if new boss Pellegrini, who took over from David Moyes at London Stadium in May, will take the tournament, which he won in the 2015/2016 campaign while in charge of Manchester City, seriously.
The Round Two encounter will come in the middle of an important Premier League run for the East Londoners, meanwhile, League One Wimbledon will relish the opportunity to take on top-flight opponents.
As well as being the Irons’ first-ever matchup with AFC, a club formed after Wimbledon FC moved to Milton Keynes in 2002 and later became Milton Keynes Dons FC, by fans not wanting to travel over 50 miles north from south London to watch their side play, it will also be their maiden trip to Kingsmeadow.
For sponsorship reasons, the ground is also known and officially known as the Cherry Red Records Stadium, and the third-tier outfit share it with the women’s team of Chelsea, meaning West Ham United women’s team will also venture there this season.
Despite never facing the club that sprang from its move to Buckinghamshire, West Ham did contest fixtures with the original Wimbledon, 27 of them, to be exact, from 1985 to 2004.
The East London outfit had a pretty decent record against their city rivals, winning 11 of those matches, losing eight and also drawing eight of them and they will be hoping to forge a 100% record against the Wombles, this time around.
To reach this stage of the competition, the Dons defeated fellow League One contenders Portsmouth at Fratton Park, coming from a goal down to progress thanks to late strikes from Joe Pigott and Anton Walkes (OG).
They have already gone one better than last year when they bowed out in the first round to fellow Londoners Brentford, while the Irons drew Cheltenham Town away from home at this stage last season.
The game was originally due to be played in East London but had to be switched due to athletics events taking place in West Ham’s London Stadium home, they sailed to a 0-2 victory via goals from Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew.
There was a decreased chance of drawing fellow PL opposition for Pellegrini’s men at this stage of the League Cup as last campaign’s top seven teams, all embroiled in European football this term, enter the competition at the third-round stage.
This year’s draw was split into a North and a South Group, meaning teams can only be drawn against other outfits in the same half of the country as them, a number of rule changes have also been implemented in this year’s Carabao Cup, including the usage of VAR (Video assistant Referee).