Crewe could not have got 2022 off to a much worse start than they did on Saturday, with Burton Albion comprehensively seeing them off by a 4-1 scoreline at the Pirelli Stadium.
Despite Tom Lowery equalising inside the 19th minute, David Artell’s side found themselves 3-1 down by half time, before their opponents netted a fourth in second-half stoppage time to compound their New Year misery even further.
The Railway Men were well beaten on the day and the result saw them drop a place in the League One table to 23rd, with four points now between themselves and Fleetwood Town outside of the relegation places.
Tuesday’s cup tie is sure to be a welcome distraction from Alexandra’s dreadful league campaign so far, as they look to book their spot in the next round of a competition that they are yet to concede in this season.
After progressing from their group consisting of Wigan Athletic, Shrewsbury Town and Wolverhampton Wanderers Under-21s with a 100% record, Crewe saw off fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers in round two by a 2-0 scoreline.
Artell knows his side will have to lift their game on Tuesday though, with their visitors being one of the favourites to lift the trophy this year.
Meanwhile, Rotherham’s narrow 2-1 triumph over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday was enough to lift Paul Warne’s side back to the summit of the third tier, after Sunderland had initially leapfrogged them two days earlier.
Michael Smith was the hero for the Millers once more, as his 13th and 14th league goals of the season proved to be the difference in a tight encounter that his side were far from their best in.
However, the result was what mattered most for Rotherham though, as victory was the perfect way to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat to Accrington Stanley on Boxing Day.
That loss hurt more than most to Warne and his side, as it was one that ended their 21-game unbeaten run across all competitions, in what has been an incredible season for Rotherham to this point.
Finishing the season with a trophy and promotion back to the Championship would be dreamland for the United supporters, but Crewe will be standing in their way on Tuesday looking to end their search for the EFL Trophy at the third round stage