It may have lost its glamour since the inception of the Premier League era in England, yet the League Cup – currently flying under the Carabao banner – will play a very important part in Ireland's preparations for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier with Switzerland.
Ireland take on the Swiss at the Aviva Stadium on 5 September and manager Mick McCarthy has openly admitted that "our main concern at the moment is still about players getting games", with some key players yet to start a league game this season.
Granted, the season in England is but a few weeks old, yet McCarthy puts a lot of emphasis on players who are starting at club level, and as a result, the manager will not confirm his final squad until after this week’s midweek games.
Yet there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful for the Ireland manager as he looks to nail down his starting XI for the visit of the highly rated Swiss.
Darren Randolph has picked up where he left off last season, as number one at Middlesbrough, and with Robbie Keane keeping close tabs on the Ireland stopper, the manager can have no concerns about his goalkeeping options.
Likewise, Keiren Westwood appears to be back to his best, starting for Sheffield Wednesday, who have enjoyed a decent start to their Championship campaign.
The Irish are also defensively sound ahead of their quest to push further clear at the top of Group D, with Seamus Coleman, Shane Duffy, Richard Keogh and Enda Stevens – the apparent first choice selection – all starting at their respective clubs, with three of the four playing in the Premier League.
John Egan and Matt Doherty are also playing consistently in the top tier, while Nathan Collins has broken into the Stoke City starting side and looks a very competent and composed centre-half and certainly one for the future.
Likewise, the Blackburn Rovers central defensive partnership of Darragh Lenihan and Derrick Williams will also ease the mind of manager McCarthy as the business end of the campaign approaches.
Sheffield United are doing their part for the Irish cause with David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson starting all three Premier League games so far for the Blades.
Both are likely to start against Switzerland, while James McClean continues to play regularly at Stoke, which should signal his selection on the left flank for Ireland.
The midfield department, however, is where the real concern lies for Ireland ahead of this vital match
Conor Hourihane must be scratching his head over at Villa Park as the Cork midfielder finds himself frozen out of the starting XI following the arrival of Brazilian Douglas Luiz.
Hourihane enjoyed a good pre-season for the newly promoted side and proceeded to start the opening Premier League game of the season.
After 82 minutes of his Premier League debut, Villa were holding Spurs 1-1 as Hourihane was substituted and replaced by Luiz.
Two late goals would see Villa leave with nothing, and Hourihane has yet to see any further competitive action over the subsequent two league matches with Luiz preferred in the middle of the park alongside John McGinn and Jack Grealish.
Hourihane will most likely start for Villa tonight in the cup clash with Crewe and while the midfielder has a fight on his hands for a place in the team at club level, you might expect that his Ireland berth is secure for the upcoming clash with Switzerland at least.
A much bigger concern for the manager is fellow midfielder, Jeff Hendrick, who is a major part of McCarthy’s plans as Ireland attempt to qualify for next summer’s showpiece.
McCarthy places a big emphasis on getting goals from midfield runners with Hendrick notably earmarked for that particular role.
The Burnley man has played just over five minutes of league action for his club this season, having been an unused substitute for the opening two league outings, before coming on as an 86th-minute replacement against Wolves on Sunday.
"I have no doubts about Jeff's ability or his fitness, he has covered so much ground for us in this European Championship already as the stats prove, but like all our players, he needs to play," said a concerned McCarthy.
"He should be involved in the League Cup game at home to Sunderland on Wednesday night, which we will have scouted."
Despite the lack of club games, Hourihane and Hendrick are fit and should start against the Swiss, however, McCarthy’s biggest decision may be in relation to his main holding midfielder.
Glenn Whelan returned from international wilderness upon the request of the manager, and performed the role required of him as Ireland secured a valuable away point in Copenhagen.
Whelan also started the vital home victory over Georgia, while the 35-year-old midfielder was not needed for either victory over Gibraltar.
You get the impression, however, that Whelan is just keeping that position warm for when, or if, perhaps, James McCarthy gets back to full match fitness.
The Ireland manager sees his namesake playing a vital role in the middle of the park, and while he was fit at the end of last season, lack of game time meant that he has not been utilised thus far in the campaign.
But McCarthy moved clubs during the summer, and while he has yet to start a league game for Crystal Palace, it appears that manager Roy Hodgson is keen to get him involved sooner rather than later.
McCarthy played 25 minutes for Palace against Sheffield United and came on for the final ten minutes at the weekend as the Londoners enjoyed a late victory away at Manchester United.
The covering midfielder should start in tonight’s cup game as Palace entertain Colchester, and the Ireland manager will surely be a keen observer to see if McCarthy has 90 good minutes in his legs and lungs.
Glenn Whelan, of course, left Aston Villa after helping them to gain Premier League promotion, however, the midfielder only recently signed for Hearts, so again there will be some questions in relation to his match fitness.
Whelan has, however, played two 90-minute games over the past week, having come through a reserve fixture last week ahead of his first-team debut against Celtic on Sunday.
McCarthy always has the option of calling on Harry Arter to slot into such a scenario should he feel that neither Whelan nor McCarthy have the fitness to be ready for such a tough test as Switzerland.
Arter is starting every week for Fulham and his energetic style could possibly see him sharing a holding role with Hourihane.
Josh Cullen put his hand up for that particular position at the end of last season following an impressive year on loan at Charlton, and the neat and tidy midfielder has continued in the same vein for the Addicks this season, and now playing in a higher tier than last year.
Likewise, Alan Browne is also back to full fitness and played the full game for Preston at the weekend, having missed the end of season internationals through injury.
A perennial concern for Ireland is the question of where the goals will come from, and in the absence of an out-and-out in-form goalscorer, McCarthy will expect every area of the pitch to take responsibility for that particular conundrum.
Scott Hogan, James Collins, Kieran Sadlier and Sean Maguire have all been on target this season, yet none of the quartet are expected to start against the Swiss.
Shane Long and Michael Obafemi have both been named in the provisional squad, yet they have only 25 minutes of action between them this season at Southampton with the latter coming on in the opening-day defeat to Burnley.
Alan Judge finally started a game for Ipswich in their 5-0 thumping of Bolton last weekend, while Robbie Brady and Troy Parrott may not get a chance to prove their fitness ahead of the final squad being announced.
One player that has played a lot of football in recent months is Shamrock Rovers’ star midfielder Jack Byrne.
The former Manchester City player’s inclusion in the provisional squad shows that McCarthy is still considering the creative midfielder to be worthy of selection.
And with the form that Byrne has shown throughout the summer, it will surely be playing on the manager’s mind as he looks for someone who might just bring a moment of magic to the upcoming game against the top seeds.