The second round of the Carabao Cup gets underway this week with 50 teams in action as they look to reach the last 32 of the competition.
Traditionally over the last few years, the League Cup has represented a chance for teams to rotate their squads and give some of their younger talents the opportunity to shine.
There are currently a plethora of young Irish talent impressing with their clubs respective U23 sides and the next couple of days could see them get a taste of first team action.
But who are the ones to keep an eye on?
Let’s take a look at five Irish prospects who could be handed massive opportunities this week.
1) Aaron Connolly (Brighton)
Well overdue his opportunity with the senior squad, Brighton’s Aaron Connolly has been a goal machine at U23 level over the past couple of seasons.
Connolly bagged 15 goals and picked up the Premier League 2 player of the season last year and has already scored three in his opening two games for the 23s this campaign.
The 19-year-old also impressed during the summer with Ireland’s U21s in Toulon and Brighton’s clash with Bristol Rovers this evening could be the ideal chance for him to see some much needed first team game time.
Graham Potter outlined that he would be making changes to the squad for Tuesday night’s game and given the three match ban for striker Florin Andone, Connolly could be the ideal man to replace him.
He’s a confident player and one who you’d fancy to grab his long-awaited chance with both hands.
2) Adam Idah (Norwich)
Adam Idah was in and around the Norwich City first team for a lot of the pre-season after he signed a new contract at the club during the summer.
The 18-year-old is another who was prolific at U23 level but given the sensational start fellow striker Teemu Pukki has had to life in the Premier League it’s easy to see why he hasn’t quite been given a look in so far in the top flight.
Against Crawley though, Idah is expected to feature with Norwich’s website namedropping him in the preview for the game and current second choice striker Josep Drmic out injured.
Idah is still very young but is highly thought of at Carrow Road and if given his chance, could play his way onto the bench for Saturday’s game against West Ham.
3) Gavin Kilkenny (Bournemouth)
One of the most under the radar Irish players playing at a high level, Gavin Kilkenny was heavily involved in Bournemouth’s pre-season games, starting and impressing.
The 19-year old has three caps at U18 level for the Boys in Green but has sadly not been subjected to the hype some other players of his age and skill level have in the past few months.
Kilkenny is a talented midfielder who has played out wide and central for Bournemouth and was earmarked as an academy talent to watch by The Guardian in 2016
He has yet to make a senior squad under Eddie Howe so far this season but the Cherries boss is another who outlined that he would rotate his side which could see Kilkenny handed an opportunity.
4) Conor Coventry (West Ham)
Another of Ireland’s promising U21s, Conor Coventry is a player who has quietly played his way into first team contention at West Ham.
The midfielder is the only player in the list to have featured already at a competitive senior level having played against Macclesfield in the cup last year.
Coventry came off the bench in that game, but given Manuel Pellegrini’s apparent affinity towards the 19-year-old he could be handed his first start for the club as they take on Newport County.
He faces competition from the more senior Carlos Sanchez for a starting berth, but if Coventry can see some game time then it’s likely that his stock will grow even higher at the club.
5) Kian Flanagan (Crystal Palace)
A former Irish U19 international, Kian Flanagan has worked his way up the ranks at Crystal Palace with a first team opportunity potentially on the horizon.
Flanagan has impressed in the Premier League 2 scoring 10 goals in 27 games and winning their U23 player of the season last year.
The 19-year-old is an attacking midfielder whose flair and ability could be a strong addition to Palace’s side with the game against Colchester the perfect opportunity for his talents to shine.
Irish manager Mick McCarthy also name-dropped Flanagan during one of scouting reports with the midfielder having caught his eye when he went to see James McCarthy play for Palace’s U23 side.