Norwich are two-time EFL Cup winners and will be looking to take the first step on the road to Wembley when facing Championship rivals QPR in their first-round tie at Loftus Road.

Winning promotion is the main aim for the Canaries, but they will be keen to progress in the cups and perhaps give their supporters a day out at the national stadium for the first time since a 2-0 success over Middlesbrough in the 2015 Championship playoff final.

QPR won the League Cup as a third-tier side in 1967 and paid their last visit to Wembley in 2014 when Bobby Zamora’s late goal secured a 1-0 success over Derby in the Championship playoffs.

They were on the road for each of their opening two Championship games – losing 4-0 at Watford and winning 2-1 at Cardiff – and will be hoping to impress in their first home match of the campaign.

Football Bet of the Day – Wednesday 16th August, 2023

  • Norwich to beat QPR @ 21/20

Norwich have made a strong start to the Championship season, taking four points from a possible six, and they can get the better of second-tier rivals QPR in the EFL Cup first round.

Most managers like to make changes in the early rounds of the EFL Cup and QPR’s Gareth Ainsworth and Norwich’s David Wagner are sure to have one eye on their teams’ weekend league assignments.

QPR finish the week with a tough home game against Championship leaders Ipswich and Ainsworth will be mindful of keeping his key players fresh and injury free.

Wholesale changes seem likely and, given the lack of depth in the Hoops squad, that is likely to result in a substantial drop-off in quality and experience.

QPR got off to the worst possible start when they lost 4-0 at Watford, leaving many of their fans fearful for the club’s survival prospects.

But there was a fantastic response at the weekend when the Londoners claimed a surprise 2-1 success away to Cardiff.

New signing Steve Cook made his QPR debut in the Welsh capital and his experience and leadership were key elements in the victory.

However, it would be asking a lot for Cook to start another two matches this week and a decision will almost certainly be made to hold him back for the Ipswich game.

Cook’s presence in the backline will be sorely missed and there could be a lack of offensive flair if Ilias Chair is given a breather.

By the end of the transfer window, QPR might have assembled a more competitive squad but, for now, they are hugely reliant on a few key individuals and that becomes an issue during a two-game week.

Norwich’s squad looks more complete, affording their manager the luxury of making lots of changes without seeing a dramatic drop-off in performance.

Wagner’s substitutes bench for Saturday’s 4-4 draw at Southampton featured a lot of quality including Ireland international forward Adam Idah and Swiss international midfielder Christian Fassnacht.

Both have scored goals in the Championship this season and they can play their part in helping the Canaries into the EFL Cup’s second round.

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