Date: 27th August 2006 at 9:41am
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Pompey have been handed the difficult, if not daunting (no disrespect meant) trip to Coca Cola League Two side Mansfield Town in the Carling Cup Second Round.

I think it is fair to say that we don’t have the best record in the League Cup, particularly in recent years. Our Quarter-Final 3-0 defeat to Watford (who with all due respect we should have beaten) a few years back being our best performance in recent times.

Last season saw the early Second Round exit to Gillingham, despite us fielding, what at the time must be classed as a “strong side.” Having twice led a late Svetoslav Todorov missed penalty would cost us as we eventually lost 3-2 in extra-time in what must go down as one of the worst moments, of unfortunately many under former boss Alain Perrin.

Personally I see the League Cup, although ridiculed by many, still as a major trophy and should we be safe enough in the League (which we will) can see no reason why we can’t attack this, and the FA Cup for that matter with a serious view to winning it. So if Pompey want a place in the Final at the new Wembley (or will it be Cardiff!) we will have to first overcome League Two Mansfield at Field Mill as the journey begins.

Mansfield, who are themselves just a year older than Pompey are currently managed by former Sheffield Wednesday defender Peter Shirtliff, a former League Cup Winner, and runner up during his time with the Owls. Mansfield came through the First Round with a good 2-0 away victory over Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night thanks to goals from Richard Barker and Michael Boulding. Currently Shirtliff’s stags lie in 14th place in League Two, and will see this as a good opportunity to spring a surprise, although I would think, or at least hope we should have enough to see us progress.

The second Round ties will be played on the week commencing 18th September.

Carling Cup Second Round draw
Leeds v Barnet
Watford v Accrington Stanley
Crewe v Wigan
Doncaster v Derby
Sheff Utd v Bury
Millwall v Southampton
West Brom v Cheltenham
Peterborough v Everton
Hereford v Leicester
Port Vale v QPR
Fulham v Wycombe
Hull v Hartlepool
Walsall v Bolton
Middlesbrough v Notts County
Charlton v Carlisle
Barnsley v M K Dons
Chesterfield v Man City
Scunthorpe v Aston Villa
Southend v Brighton
Brentford v Luton
Reading v Darlington
Birmingham v Wrexham
Rotherham v Norwich
Mansfield v Portsmouth