The Royal 2018/19 calendar will begin to take shape this Friday, when the fixtures for the first round of the Carabao Cup are drawn.
Steve McManaman, Louis Saha and Dennis Wise – all former winners of the competition in their playing days – will be in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to help conduct the draw, which will take place at 10.45am UK time.
It is the second successive season that Carabao Cup draws have taken place overseas, with events being staged in Bangkok and Beijing last season as part of the EFL’s continued efforts to build the value of the competition outside the UK.
The Royals are one of 70 EFL clubs to feature in the new-look draw, which will see teams drawn into Northern and Southern sections, but with no seeding for higher ranked sides as in previous seasons.
That means in the first round we could feasibly face a Championship opponent from the south of the country, some of our local rivals such as Swindon or Oxford, or even League 2 sides from as far afield as Exeter or Newport. We'll find out later this week!
Matches are scheduled to take place on the week commencing 13th August, with West Bromwich Albion included, while Championship newcomers Stoke City and Swansea City will join the competition in the second round alongside the Premier League clubs that are not competing in Europe.
The full regionalisation and ball numbers are below...
|North Section||South Section|
|1||Accrington Stanley||1||AFC Wimbledon|
|3||Blackburn Rovers||3||Birmingham City|
|5||Bolton Wanderers||5||Bristol City|
|6||Bradford City||6||Bristol Rovers|
|7||Burton Albion||7||Cambridge United|
|9||Carlisle United||9||Cheltenham Town|
|10||Crewe Alexandra||10||Colchester United|
|11||Derby County||11||Coventry City|
|12||Doncaster Rovers||12||Crawley Town|
|13||Fleetwood Town||13||Exeter City|
|14||Grimsby Town||14||Forest Green Rovers|
|16||Leeds United||16||Ipswich Town|
|17||Lincoln City||17||Luton Town|
|19||Mansfield Town||19||Milton Keynes Dons|
|22||Nottingham Forest||22||Norwich City|
|23||Notts County||23||Oxford United|
|24||Oldham Athletic||24||Peterborough United|
|25||Port Vale||25||Plymouth Argyle|
|26||Preston North End||26||Portsmouth|
|27||Rochdale||27||Queens Park Rangers|
|29||Scunthorpe United||29||Southend United|
|31||Sheffield Wednesday||31||Swindon Town|
|32||Shrewsbury Town||32||West Bromwich Albion|
|34||Tranmere Rovers||34||Yeovil Town|
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