AFTER York City were handed a return to the town where their relegation from the Football League was all but confirmed eight years ago, chairman Jason McGill admits the club’s presence in the Capital One Cup makes promotion “seem that bit more real”.
The Minstermen, still basking in last month’s BlueSquare Premier play-off final triumph over Luton Town at Wembley, will travel to Doncaster Rovers in one of two all-White Rose ties in the first round of the newly-sponsored competition.
City’s fellow League Two outfit, Rotherham United, have also been handed a derby courtesy of a trip to Hull City, while the pick of the other ties sees Keith Hill set for a reunion with his old club as Barnsley travel to Rochdale and Leeds United host Shrewsbury Town.
It is, however, the return of York to the League Cup for the first time since 2003-04 that catches the eye as Gary Mills’s side prepare to take on a team who were relegated from the Championship last term.
City chairman McGill said: “It is a great draw for what is, effectively, our return to the Football League due to the Cup first round taking place before the League Two season is due to kick off on August 18.
“A Yorkshire derby is great for our fans and, personally, seeing our name in the League Cup first round draw makes promotion seem that bit more real.
“It is funny, too, because following our win at Wembley, we received a wonderful letter from (Doncaster chairman) John Ryan congratulating us on winning promotion. He then wrote how great it would be to face us in the Cup this season and now that is going to happen.”
The last visit by York, who are set to sign a new shirt sponsorship deal with Benenden Healthcare, to Doncaster came on April 24, 2004, when a 3-1 defeat at Rovers’ old Belle Vue home left the Minstermen six points adrift of safety with just two games to play of the Third Division campaign.
A vastly inferior goal difference meant, however, that City were down.
McGill added: “It is maybe fitting that we should play Doncaster in our first game back, considering it was where we went down. I am sure our fans are delighted as most will not have visited the Keepmoat Stadium before.”
Another Yorkshire club from League Two content with the first-round draw is Rotherham, who will make their first trip to the KC Stadium.
“Getting a Championship side is great, especially as they are someone who hasn’t been on our radar for some time,” said Millers chairman Tony Stewart, whose club have not faced Hull since the opening few months of 2000.
“I would possibly have preferred a home tie due to the move into our new stadium but Hull City away is a good one. Our new manager (Steve Evans) also knocked Hull out of the Cup last season (with Crawley) so maybe lightning can strike twice.”
The ties are scheduled to be played in the week commencing August 13, though the League will allow games to be played on either the preceding Saturday or Sunday if both clubs agree.
One leading Yorkshire football figure looking forward to returning to an old stomping ground is Barnsley manager Hill after being handed a visit to Rochdale, the club he led to promotion from League Two in 2010 during a four-year spell as manager.
He said: “I have great memories from my time there and it really couldn’t have been a better draw. Rochdale will be trying to get one over us but this presents us with an opportunity to do what we have failed to do in the last two seasons and get into the second round.”
Elsewhere, newly-promoted Huddersfield Town travel to Preston North End while Sheffield Wednesday are also on the road after being handed a visit to Oldham Athletic.
Steel City rivals United will host Burton Albion as Bradford City travel to Notts County and Middlesbrough go to Bury.
League Cup draw first round
Port Vale v Burnley, Derby v Scunthorpe, Rochdale v Barnsley, Notts County v Bradford, Hull v Rotherham, Fleetwood v Nottingham Forest, Carlisle v Accrington, Doncaster v York, Crewe v Hartlepool, Bury v Middlesbrough, Chesterfield v Tranmere, Sheffield United v Burton, Blackpool v Morecambe, Leeds v Shrewsbury, Preston v Huddersfield, Oldham v Sheffield Wednesday, Cheltenham v Milton Keynes Dons, Ipswich v Bristol Rovers, Stevenage v AFC Wimbledon, Exeter v Crystal Palace, Yeovil v Colchester, Birmingham v Barnet, Bristol City v Gillingham, Northampton v Cardiff, Plymouth v Portsmouth, Wolves v Aldershot, Walsall v Brentford, Millwall v Crawley, Torquay v Leicester, Dagenham v Coventry, Peterborough v Southend, Swindon v Brighton, Watford v Wycombe, Charlton v Leyton Orient, Oxford v Bournemouth.