Wolves could be set to lock horns with a familiar face at Carlisle in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday night.
Aaron Hayden spent four years with Wolves until being released this summer, when the defender joined League Two Carlisle.
Now 22, the Croydon-born stopper, who joined Wolves from Chelsea’s academy in 2015, is awaiting his debut for the Cumbrians but is one of several youngsters who is in the frame to step up as manager Steven Pressley looks to utilise his full squad in the opening match of the tournament, for which Wolves, like all clubs from the top two tiers, will again enter an Under-21s team.
Hayden never played a first-team game during his time at Molineux, but he wasn’t afraid of the prospect of playing at different levels to get a taste of first-team football.
The Londoner enjoyed loan spells at Newport County (2015, five games) Hemel Hempstead (2016-17 13) and AFC Telford United (2017-18, nine), before finally finding a home of sorts at Stourbridge, where he made 40 appearances in three stints from 2017-19.
With Wolves’ first team in action at home to Reading in the Carabao Cup thurd round on Wedneaday night, coach Rob Edwards may have to mix and match his side.
But he is looking forward to the game after the Under-23s came from behind to win at Manchester City 2-1 then fought back to draw 2-2 against Arsenal.
“We’ve shown that the week before, going 1-0 down to Man City and then came back to win, so it’s great to be showing the character and quality to do that,” Edwards told www.wolves.co.uk
“I was really pleased with our goals. I felt we showed very good control and some real good patience, but with finishes at the end of it.
“We’ve got a lot of important games this week; whether the players are involved with the first-team (in the Carabao Cup) or not, that’s the manager’s decision. We would love it, but it’s up to the gaffer.
“We’ve got Carlisle and Southampton, two fantastic games, and the players have put in some fantastic performances recently and that’s all we can ask for – because off the back of positive performances, you usually get results.”
But the game has hardly caught the imagination of the Cumbrian public.
Six of Carlisle’s 10 all-time lowest home crowds have come in this competition since the controversial introduction of so-called B teams from the top two tiers in 2016.
Tuesday’s game could struggle to top the 1,000 mark. Carlisle’s lowest home crowd is 859 against Hartlepool in the Autoglass Trophy in 1992. Last season’s Trophy game against Stoke Under-21s attracted the second smallest, with 882.