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Football: Everton look mint to capture Carling glory this season; FOOTBALL: CARLING CUP.

Byline: By Dan Childs

EVERTON fans have not tasted success since their FA Cup win in 1995 but the current Toffees side has the hunger and the quality required to end their trophy drought.

The Carling Cup may seem like an unusual competition to target - Everton have never won the trophy in its 46-year history.

But in the modern game the Merseyside outfit are the type of club which fits the bill as potential winners.

Winning the Premiership has become a distant prospect for second-tier top-flight clubs.

And the FA Cup has also become the preserve of the elite clubs - Everton were the last team outside of the 'big four' to lift the trophy.

However, during the big clubs' 11-year period of FA Cup dominance, six teams outside the elite four have won the league cup.

The relative failure of the big clubs is a consequence of their in difference to the competition.

However, for second-tier Premiership clubs, the rewards of a major domestic trophy and a berth in next season's Uefa Cup are not to be sniffed at.

But it makes sense to swerve the clubs who are saddled with Uefa Cup commitments.

Tottenham, Newcastle and Blackburn are on the brink of qualifying for the four-match group stage of the Uefa Cup.

Of the teams which failed to qualify for Europe, Everton, Portsmouth and Aston Villa have made particularly good starts to the season.

But Everton, thanks to the summer signing of Andy Johnson, possess more firepower than they other two and they look excellent value at 25-1 to win the trophy.

Layers are also taking a chance by offering 66-1 about Reading to lift the cup.

Steve Coppell has deployed weakened teams in this competition in the past, but a reduction of the club's fixture list and a good start to the Premiership has given him the freedom to give it his best shot this time.

Chelsea are certain to rest a number of players but layers are right to make them the Carling Cup favourites.

The extraordinary strength-indepth of the Stamford Bridge squad should ensure they are strong contenders and 9-2 about the Blues is a decent price.

Hills go 14-1 that a non-Premiership team wins the competition and 11-2 that one reaches the final.

Recommendations

Everton

2pts each-way 25-1 Coral

Reading

1pt each-way 66-1 Bet Direct, Power

Chelsea

2pts 9-2 general

CAPTION(S):

Andy Johnson can lead an Everton Carling Cup charge
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Sep 19, 2006
Words:406
Previous Article:Football: Northwich geared to be victorious; NON-LEAGUE.
Next Article:Football: Everton face tough task against spirited Posh; CARLING CUP: PETERBOROUGH v EVERTON.
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