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Watford-Luton tie avoided as Hornets land Gillingham in EFL Cup

Watford missed the chance to draw Luton Town in the EFL Cup tonight, landing a second-round home tie with Gillingham.

Hopes of a first meeting with the Hatters since 2006 were raised when Luton dumped Aston Villa out of the competition but they were dashed when the Hornets were paired by Iain Dowie with the Gills. “The police bill would have been bigger than the gate,” joked Luton boss Nathan Jones when asked about the possibility of drawing Watford.

Gillingham, who are in League One, are managed by former Tottenham left-back Justin Edinburgh. Former Hornets’ No 2 David Kerslake is part of Edinburgh’s coaching staff.

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The tie, which will be played during the week starting August 22, will be the first meeting between the sides since Watford beat them 3-0 in the 2007 league cup.

As the game is sandwiched between home games with Chelsea and Arsenal, new head coach Walter Mazzarri will no doubt ring the changes. He will, however, be hoping to fair better than Quique Sanchez Flores did at the first hurdle. Watford lost in the second round last season, dumped out 1-0 at Preston in a game that saw Miguel Britos sent off on his debut.

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Mazzarri has a good track record in cup competitions. He reached the final of the Coppa Italia with Napoli in 2009, losing to Lazio on penalties before going one better three years later, inflicting Juventus’ only defeat of the season to clinch Napoli’s first title in more than 20 years.

Watford’s last ten league cup runs:
2006/07: Fourth round: Lost on penalties to Newcastle
2007/08: Second round: Lost 2-0 at Southend United
2008/09: Fifth round: Lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur
2009/10: Second round: Lost 2-1 to Leeds United
2010/11: Second round: Lost 2-1 to Notts County
2011/12: First round: Lost on penalties to Bristol Rovers
2012/13: Second round: Lost 2-1 to Bradford City
2013/14: Third round: Lost 3-2 to Norwich City after extra time
2014/15: Second round: Lost 2-1 to Doncaster Rovers
2015/16: Second round: Lost 1-0 to Preston North End