Alan Pardew takes his still unbeaten Newcastle side to Blackburn's Ewood Park for a Carling Cup match that will be of lesser importance to a Blackburn side really strugglnig for form and places in the Premier League.
The Football League Cup, commonly known as the League Cup or, from current sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English association football competition. Like the FA Cup, it is played on a knockout (single elimination) basis. Unlike the FA Cup, where 762 teams entered in 2008–09, only 92 clubs can enter the League Cup – the 20 Premier League clubs, and the 72 clubs of The Football League, which organises the competition. Also unlike the FA Cup, the semi-finals are played over two legs. The winners qualify for the UEFA Europa League, if they have not qualified for European competition through the Premier League or by winning the FA Cup. If this occurs, then the Europa League berth goes to the highest-placed team from the Premier League not already qualified for Europe. Birmingham City are the current holders.
Although the League Cup is one of the three major domestic trophies attainable by English league teams, it is perceived by some larger clubs as a lower priority than the league championship and the FA Cup. Some clubs have made a point of fielding a weaker side in the competition, making the opportunity for giant-killing of the larger clubs more likely.