Yorkshire trio exit League Cup - should we read too much into it?

THE NORTH WEST footballing powerhouse flexed its muscles at the expense of Yorkshire on Tuesday night. That was how the script seemed at any rate.

Stoke City's Philipp Wollscheid (left) and Sheffield Wednesday's Gary Hooper in action during to the Capital One Cup, Quarter Final (Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire).
Stoke City's Philipp Wollscheid (left) and Sheffield Wednesday's Gary Hooper in action during to the Capital One Cup, Quarter Final (Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire).

A strong Manchester City line-up may have left it late, but ultimately showed their prowess against visiting Hull, whose wait for a first win on the blue side of Manchester since 1930 continued following a 4-1 reverse.

Head down the M6 to Stoke - technically in the North Midlands yes, but Potteries residents used to be able to get Manchester-based Granada TV back in the day - and the Potters reached the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time since 1971-72 with some ease to ensure Carlos’s particular dream in the Capital One Cup ended.

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Manchester City's David Silva (right) and Hull City's Mohamed Diame (Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire)

Merseyside outfit Everton also had too much class and competency for Middlesbrough up in the north east to complete the triple-whammy of White Rose exits.

It may have only been the third occasion in the history of the League Cup since its inception in 1960-61 - the other times being 2012-13 and 1961-62 - that three White Rose sides had made it to the quarter-finals. But the county’s participation is over for another season.

Yet odes of doom should not be penned this morning. Let’s face it, Hull, Sheffield Wednesday and Boro have provided value for money this season in the competition this year and have bigger Championship fish to fry so to speak.

Here’s a bit of perspective.

The Capital One Cup is by no means the priority if you are an aspiring Championship outfit seeking to reach the Premier League Promised Land. It’s a bonus ball.

Hull made seven changes for their Etihad test and it was quite interesting to note that Manchester City - despte the competition comfortably being fourth in their list of seasonal pots to chase - elected to make just five from the weekend.

Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Fabian Delph all started for City, while Raheem Sterling came off the bench. A reserve side it was anything but, with the Hull line-up was much-changed with Saturday’s derby at Leeds United maybe in mind.

Boro also made changes against a strong Everton side able to ‘attack’ Tuesday’s tie with their league return not coming until Monday against Crystal Palace. In contrast, the Teessiders are back in action against Ipswich Town on Friday and Aitor Karanka was perhaps understandably pragmatic in selection.

Carvalhal also played the likes of Joe Wildsmith, Rhoys Wiggins and Modou Sougou at the Brittania and utilised his squad.

For Everton and Stoke in particular, the Capital One Cup represents a big target to chase at the start of season. Period. Let’s face it, they are not going to win the Premier League, are they.

While for Manchester City, aiming for success in every trophy they enter is a given and they have the riches in their squad to be able to rest one or two players and still possess a formidable sheen of invincibility.

Defeat to a Championship side at home is also something that would leave the club;s overlords in the Gulf decidedly non-plussed. Don’t think for one minute that City’s home FA Cup exit to Boro in January went down well. A case of once bitten, twice shy.

So down by not out is the phrase for Yorkshire.

Hull, the Owls and Boro have much to look forward to in the weeks ahead, with cup dates with top-flight clubs representing days out and hardly the peaks of their ambition.

All possess genuine prospects of dining at the top table next term - Tuesday night was a mere canapé to whet the appetite, that’s all.