HARTLEPOOL United will open their season with a trip to new League One rivals Crewe Alexandra in the Capital One Cup.
Bizarrely, the first round of the League Cup (formerly sponsored by Carling) is being staged BEFORE the League One season starts on August 18.
Pools will travel to Gresty Road, probably on Tuesday August 14.
Crewe returned to League One last month when they beat Cheltenham Town 2-0 in the League Two play-off final at Wembley.
At least Pools won’t face hotshot Alex striker Nick Powell, who signed this week for Manchester United.
Neale Cooper’s side were one of the seeds in the draw which was split into northern and southern sections – 16 ties in the north and 19 in the south.
It meant Pools avoided one of the npower Championship clubs in the first round.
Neighbours Middlesbrough, also seeded, face a trip across the M62 as well, having been drawn away to League One outfit Bury, who are managed by ex-Pools promotion hero Richard Barker.