Derby County midfielder Louie Sibley has great memories of the Carabao Cup, having he made his debut in the competition just over 12 months ago, ahead of tonight's Second Round clash at home to Preston North End at Pride Park Stadium (6:30pm kick-off).
The 19-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Sunday, made his Rams debut against Scunthorpe United in a 1-0 win in the First Round at Glanford Park last season.
He came off the bench on 75 minutes and was on the field as fellow Academy graduate Lee Buchanan, also making his debut, grabbed the only goal of the game on his debut.
Sibley then made his first professional start for the club in the Second Round tie against Nottingham Forest, playing an hour before being replaced by Jack Marriott at the City Ground.
More than a year on from that experience, a lot has happened for Sibley.
He made his league debut in December before netting Derby’s 2019/20 Goal of the Season on his first league start against Blackburn Rovers in March 2020.
He scored a hat-trick against Millwall after the three-month break due to the COVID-19 outbreak, whilst he capped off a progressive first campaign with the Rams with his fifth goal of the season against Birmingham City in July.
But it was that experience in the Carabao Cup last year which sticks out in Sibley’s mind.
“It’s great memories to have, making your debut, and all the other younger lads have them too,” he told RamsTV, speaking ahead of tonight's clash against Preston.
“Lee got his goal with a great finish. We are all so happy to be here and we are working hard every day. To look back on how far we have come from there is amazing.
“It was a special moment for us all and you will always remember our debut. It proves that we are working hard and look at us now; we are in the team, so we just want to keep going and keep playing.
“We want to do well in the cup because it gives you confidence for the league if we can pick up wins and keep going through to the next round then we can take it into the league. That is what we are trying to do.”
Whilst last season was a progressive one for Sibley, the new campaign poses a new challenge for the youngster.
With Championship experience under his belt and with teams now familiar with Sibley’s talents, he knows he has to continue to work hard to continue his impressive rise.
“I scored a couple of goals last season andteams started to be more compact in midfield, so it was hard for me,” he said.
“I want to keep scoring goals, keep getting assists because that is a part of our play.
“I just need to keep going because there are going to be some games where opponents are going to sit off and it is going to be hard for me, but every game I am just going to keep going and hopefully get more goals and assists to help the team get the win.”