John Gregory would love a showdown with Louis van Gaal.

But the Crawley manager knows his team have a big hurdle to climb before they can think about playing Manchester United or one of the other big Premier League clubs in the Capital One Cup.

The Reds host Ipswich Town in a first round tie at the Stadium tonight which pitches Gregory up against an old rival in Mick McCarthy, a man he greatly respects.

Gregory said: “The Capital One Cup is obviously financially rewarding. If we are able to get past Ipswich, who knows, we might get somebody big in the next round.

“We will never forget Manchester United in the FA Cup which helped finance us for quite a few months. You always hope for something like that somewhere down the line.

“With the way United are playing at the moment, it would be nice to draw them away in the next round if we can get past Ipswich but it will be a tough game.

“Make no mistake, Mick McCarthy’s teams are exceptionally tough to beat.

“I have managed against Mick and played against him a few times. It will be good to see him, he is a good guy, one of the better guys.”

Reds are almost certainly without skipper Josh Simpson who hobbled off with an ankle injury in the 1-0 win at Barnsley on Saturday while Matt Harrold is still recovering from a knee operation.

Gregory knows his side will be up against it but added: “We enjoy being the underdog. We have always had that title. We will look forward to facing Ipswich and we will be giving it everything we have got.”