There is a chance we will see an all-Premier League last eight, although the likes of Leeds, Middlesbrough, Swindon and Bradford City will be hoping to provide an upset.
Leeds United v Southampton 19:45
Neil Warnock wasn’t exactly complimentary about the League Cup during his time in charge of QPR although the Leeds manager appears to have changed his tune and the Yorkshire side produced a spirited performance to beat Everton at Elland Road in the last round of the competition.
Leeds have been rewarded with a winnable last sixteen match against a Southampton team struggling at the foot of the Premier League and the bookies actually make the Championship side favourites at 6/4 (William Hill free bets) despite the fact that they have just one win in their last five games.
It will be interesting to see whether Nigel Adkins plays his strongest Saints team considering that Premier League points are so scarce at the moment, although perhaps he will be searching for a victory to act as a confidence booster for a side that lost 2-1 at home to Tottenham on Sunday.
The visitors are 9/5 (BetVictor) to book their place in the last eight of the competition, having beaten Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round and it will be a chance for some of the fringe players to stake their claim for a regular starting berth.
Reading v Arsenal 19:45
Considering the Arsenal first team couldn’t win at Norwich and needed a late winner to beat QPR, perhaps there’s not a great deal of value backing the Gunners to win at the Madejski Stadium on Tuesday night.
The bookies make Arsene Wenger’s team a 10/11 chance (Blue Square bookmaker) although a close inspection of the team-sheet is required before getting involved at those odds, with the Frenchman tending to use this competition as an opportunity to blood some of the younger players in the squad.
The 6-1 win against Coventry in the previous round was impressive enough, although there weren’t many household names in that Arsenal team with the exception of Olivier Giroud, Andrei Arshavin and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. With a big game at Old Trafford this coming Saturday, few of the big names will be risked.
Reading are a meaty 16/5 (bet365 £200 free bets) to claim victory and Brian McDermott knows that a win against the Gunners would provide a boost to an ailing Royals side who can’t win in the Premier League.
That 3-2 win at QPR in the previous round was impressive and saw a full-strength team come from behind twice to win the game, with Reading still full of goals following a 3-3 draw at home to Fulham where they salvaged an unlikely point.
Sunderland v Middlesbrough 19:45
Martin O’Neill enjoys the cup competitions and his Sunderland side face Middlesbrough for the second season running after it took two matches to separate the two teams in the FA Cup last campaign.
The Black Cats eventually won thanks to an injury-time goal from Stephane Sessegnon after the original tie at the Stadium of Light had finished all square although O’Neill will be hoping that his team can settle matters in normal time on Tuesday night.
It’s been a modest start to the season for the Wearside team who have drawn six of their ten games in all competitions. Sunderland are proving hard to beat although they remain indebted to striker Steven Fletcher and the manager will hope others can start chipping in with goals.
The home side are a best price 8/11 (Paddy Power) to win against a Middlesbrough side who are enjoying a great run of form and have worked their way to third in the Championship despite a limited squad and wage budget at the Riverside Stadium.
Chairman Steve Gibson no longer plunges millions into buying new players and he has an excellent manager in Tony Mowbray who loves the football club and seems to get the best from the squad he has at his disposal.
The visitors are a 9/2 chance to win and you can be certain they’ll have a go at their top flight opponents and bring a few thousand supporters, having claimed recent wins against Watford, Brighton, Hull City and Bolton Wanderers.
Scott McDonald is back in favour with Mowbray and scored twice against Bolton on Saturday to help Boro continue their winning run, with the Australian 10/1 to open the scoring in this game, while Adam Johnson will be lining up against his former club.
Swindon v Aston Villa 19:45
This match has all the makings of a cup upset, especially with Paolo Di Canio’s side having beaten Brighton, Burnley and Stoke City to reach the last sixteen stage and it was especially impressive the way that Swindon scored an extra-time winner at the Britannia Stadium against a Premier League side that had Peter Crouch and Michael Kightly on the pitch.
The League One side will fancy their chances of another scalp and one wonders whether Aston Villa have the stomach for a scrap against a side that were promoted as League Two champions last season and look strong contenders for promotion once again.
Swindon ended their three match winless run when thrashing Stevenage in their own back yard and the 12/5 (bet365) about a home win looks pretty tasty considering Villa are more preoccupied with their Premier League safety following another disappointing result at the weekend.
Paul Lambert’s side could only muster a draw against Norwich and Darren Bent was only fielded as a sub once again despite the fact that the Midlands club spent £18 million on the player not so long ago.
The former England striker is likely to have a chance at the County Ground and the Premier League side are a 5/4 chance (Paddy Power) to win this encounter although the bottom line is that these two teams could be playing each other in the Championship next season.
Wigan v Bradford City 19:45
Recently-sacked Paul Jewell will look upon this fixture with fondness considering he elevated both of these clubs to the Premier League, although that must seem like a lifetime ago for Bantams supporters who have been residing in League Two for several seasons.
Perhaps this is the campaign where they finally start to give their supporters some cheer and plenty of visiting supporters will flock to the DW Stadium for a clash against a team that beat West Ham on Saturday to give themselves some Premier League breathing space.
Bradford are 10/1 (Boylesports) to cause a massive upset and they have enjoyed a solid start to life in League Two sitting 5th with 24 points on the board after 15 games played. A 1-0 defeat at Burton on Saturday was their first loss for five games and it was the Brewers that forsook a 2-0 lead to allow City to win in the previous round.
Even so, a half-decent Wigan performance could expose their opponents and Ladbrokes go 1/3 about the home side reaching the quarter final and allowing Roberto Martinez to start to dream about the prospect of winning some silverware and etching his name in Latics folklore.