Burton host Manchester City in the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday night.
Here, Football Paradise looks at five talking points as Nigel Clough’s mid-table League One side prepare to face Guardiola’s cup holders and Premier League champions once again.
1. City have history in their sights
Guardiola’s side need only a three-goal win on Wednesday night to make League Cup history. Leading 9-0 from the first leg two weeks ago, City have the chance to set a new record for the biggest aggregate winning margin in the competition’s history.
The record currently stands at 11 and has been achieved five times, all in the early rounds of the competition. Liverpool defeated Exeter 11-0 in 1981-82 and Fulham 13-2 in 1986-87. West Ham beat Bury 12-1 in 1983-84 while Watford defeated Darlington 11-0 in 1987-88 and Everton were also 11-0 winners against Wrexham in 1990-91.
2. Pep to give kids a chance?
With such a comfortable cushion, it is only natural that Guardiola gives some of his big-name players the night off. Several teenagers have been training with the City squad this week and will be hoping to earn their first team debuts at the Pirelli Stadium.
Central defenders Eric Garcia and Philippe Sandler could travel to the midlands, having already made their debuts in the competition this season. Attacker Felix Nmecha might be involved, as well as wingers Luke Bolton and Ian Carlo Poveda and midfielders Taylor Richards and Iker Pozo.
3. Acknowledging Albion’s achievement
This is not the first time a League One club managed by Clough have appeared in the semi-finals of the competition. Sheffield United were narrowly beaten 3-2 on aggregate by Tottenham in 2015, but Burton have neither the tradition nor finances of the Blades.
This is new territory for Albion, a club who have only been in existence since 1950 and who have only been playing in the Football League since 2009. One of the smallest clubs in the Football League, Burton have knocked out Aston Villa, Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough to
reach the last four.
4. Where it all began
The League Cup was the first silverware Guardiola won as a manager in England, with success last year coming amid a record-breaking Premier League campaign.
Though he has been clear it ranks last in his priorities for the four trophies City can still win this season, the Catalan will now be hungry for another Wembley win – having assured his team will be back in the final next month courtesy of their nine-goal advantage from the first leg.
5. Mendy makes return
Benjamin Mendy is set to return to the City squad against Burton. The French full-back has been out with a knee injury since November, with his last appearance coming in the 3-1 derby win over Manchester United.
Mendy recently resumed light training as he stepped up his recovery and Guardiola has confirmed he will travel with the squad and could play some part as a substitute.
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