But, it's a different format to the competition for the first time since the 2002-03 campaign due to Birmingham's surprise victory over Arsenal at Wembley last season in the Carling Cup itself. That meaning with the Blues being relegated to the Football League while also being seeded through to round three due to their Europa League participation there needs to be one less club in the round one draw.
So, with that in mind there will be a preliminary round match between the two clubs that finished the lowest in the football pyramid last season. Blue Square Bet Premier winners Crawley Town and play-off victors from that division, in AFC Wimbledon, are therefore those two teams and following a draw to decide home advantage the Red Devils will face the Wombles at the Broadfield Stadium on the evening of Friday July 29th for a place in the first round proper.
Joining one of those other sides at that stage then will be 69 other Football League clubs, with Carlisle United just having a potentially easier time of it after sneaking into the seeded sides as the lowest placed club from last season in that section. There are still some sides certainly worth avoiding in the unseeded group home or away when the draw is made this coming Thursday morning at 10am though, Sheffield Wednesday in particular being the highest placed finisher in 2010-11 in the unseeded section, the full list of seeds and non-seeds, broken down into 17 each in the north and 18 each in the south, being as follows :
North - Seeded
14.Preston North End
North - Unseeded
South - Seeded
3.Brighton & Hove Albion
12.Milton Keynes Dons
18.West Ham United
South - Unseeded
6.Crawley Town/AFC Wimbledon
7.Dagenham & Redbridge
Round Two (week commencing August 22nd) - the 35 first round winners plus the following 13 Premier League clubs - Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Everton, Liverpool, Newcastle United, Norwich City, Queens Park Rangers, Sunderland, Swansea, West Bromwich Albion, Wigan Athletic, Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Round Three (week commencing September 19th) - the 24 second round winners plus the following 8 clubs participating in the Champions League or Europa League this season - Arsenal, Birmingham City, Chelsea, Fulham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Stoke City, Tottenham Hotspur.
Round Four (week commencing 24th October).
Quarter-Finals (week commencing 28th November).
Semi-Final Leg One (week commencing 9th January).
Semi-Final Leg Two (week commencing 23rd January).
Final - (Sunday 26th February).