Following Sunday’s schlep to North London, United are tonight pitched straight back into the fray with a home tie v wee Brendan’s Leicester City.

The Foxes have made a solid start to the campaign and journey to Tyneside buoyed by a 2-1 victory at Bramall Lane on Saturday. To be honest, it was a bit of a pisser being drawn against half decent Premiership opposition when you see that many of football’s lower league, lesser lights are battling it out at the same stage of this competition. Our path was ever strewn with cow pats from the devil’s own satanic herd.

The problem in previewing this tie is that no one knows how strong the sides will be on the night. Steve Bruce was giving it big licks about competing in the Cups this year, when he arrived. However, I can’t have been the only one to notice nouns such as ‘injury’ and ‘fatigue’ being bandied around in the Ronnie Gill & Journal yesterday. With an eye on Saturday’s ‘six pointer’, this will probably translate as five or six changes from United’s last starting XI.

Similarly, I can’t imagine little, deep thinking Brendan playing with a full complement either. I’d guess that young Ayoze will be up for it, but whether you get to see him or not is also up for debate.

I guess the upside of team sheet ‘musical chairs’ is that we get to witness the progress of a few young-uns. I’d hazard that the younger Longstaff will get the nod, and if reports of his U23’s performances coupled with his recent stunning winner v St Etienne are owt to go by, he’s certainly one worth watching.

I’d love us to get through. I’d love it even more if by some miracle we got to Wembley. However, I don’t even dream about such whimsy these days. Our record in the domestic cups with Ashley’s manacles clamped firmly shut, is simply dismal. Whatever the current hot seat incumbent says, I’ll be surprised if we try to make a decent fist of either this or the slightly more glamorous FA Cup.

So if you’re attending tonight, expect a lot of unfamiliar players, a sub 20,000 crowd, two hours of half contested football and then a penalty lotto. What’s not to like?!?

Circumlocution is not my aim when writing these preview / score guesstimates. It’s just on this occasion, for the reasons above, I ain’t got a clue what the score will be!

If you’re going, enjoy / endure….

Nick Clark