Getting ready for the cup

The cup draw comes in just a few hours, tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. and last Friday the Football League confirmed the seedings although it didn't take a lot of working out.

All of the Football League clubs apart from Reading and Wigan will be involved and, as in previous years, the 36 most northerly clubs are in one half of the draw and the other 34 clubs in the other half.

Howler in last 1st round defeat

With the north/south divide done, the clubs are then split again with the those that finished in the higher league position seeded. That means the highest placed club from the 2012/13 season we can face is Preston who ended the season with a 15th place finish in League One.

Of the 18 non-seeded clubs in the northern half of the draw there are seven who were in last season's League One, another ten from League Two and Mansfield who were one of the two clubs promoted from the Blue Square Premier League.

Of our potential opponents there are only two we haven't met previously in this competition. They are Accrington and Fleetwood but the other sixteen have all been opponents at some time or other during the history of the competition with Bury (1985/86 & 1998/99), Carlisle (1992/93), Hartlepool (2006/07) and Rochdale (1986/87) all having knocked us out.

Playing in the first round was not something we had to concern ourselves with for most of the early years of the competition. In its first twenty years we only appeared in the earliest round once and that was in the 1977/78 season. We'd ended the previous season in 16th place in the Second Division and that meant an early start in the cup in the following season.

As was the case last season, this was played ahead of the league season but was over two legs. We played Chester and about the only thing I can remember is Terry Cochrane scoring both goals in the 2-0 home first leg and then losing the second leg at Sealand Road 1-0 on the day Marshall Burke made his Burnley debut, for the injured Peter Noble, and some bloke called Elvis died.

Once in twenty years, but it's been a different story since. As the club's fortunes suffered so playing in round one became a regular fixture for us. It started after relegation to the Third Division in 1980 and we've appeared in every first round since apart from the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons, virtue of us being having been in the Premier League.

When tomorrow's draw is made it will allocate us our 33rd first round opponents. We haven't fared too badly in previous years. On the 32 previous occasions we've won through 21 times and gone out on the other 11 occasions. Two of those wins, at Chesterfield in 2003 and Grimsby in 2008, have been on penalties.

Back in 1999 Manchester City beat us in what was the penultimate two legged first round. Since then we've played eleven times in the first round and lost only twice and both times it was at the Turf meaning we've never lost a one leg first round tie away.

The first of them was against Rushden & Diamonds in 2001 when Stan Ternent decided to make a number of changes and the last time we went out in the first round was seven years ago when Hartlepool beat us 1-0 courtesy of a howler from Wayne Thomas which saw him sent off after being forced to concede a penalty.

So to tomorrow morning. There's been some debate over who people would like us to play. My choice is for a home game but if it has to be away then I'd opt for any of Burton, Chesterfield and Rotherham. All would be played at grounds where no Burnley team has previously played.

The only thing we know with any certainty is that our opponents will be one of:

ACCRINGTON
BRADFORD CITY
BURTON
BURY
CARLISLE
CHESTERFIELD
FLEETWOOD
HARTLEPOOL
MANSFIELD
MORECAMBE
OLDHAM
PORT VALE
PRESTON
ROCHDALE
ROTHERHAM
SCUNTHORPE
SHREWSBURY
YORK