Marcus Braddock looks ahead to the Emirates FA Cup visit of Bradford City
This weekend we welcome the Emirates F.A. Cup back to Montgomery Waters Meadow with a home game against Bradford City in round 1. Bradford were relegated from Skybet League One last season but are making an excellent job of returning at the first attempt. They sit in 2nd place, just 1 point behind leaders Forest Green with 30 points from 16 games. They've won more home games than anyone else in League 2 so far this season but their away form is what interests us this weekend. They've only lost twice away from home and have also won close to 50% of their away games with three wins from seven. They've scored nine times in seven games, conceded eight and managed two clean sheets on the road. So far the cup competitions haven't been too kind to Bradford, in the League Cup they lost 4-0 at home to Preston and in The Leasing.com Trophy they've been beaten 2-1 by Manchester City u21 but did win a penalty shoot-out after drawing 1-1 at Bolton Wanderers.
Head to Head
We've played Bradford three times in the F.A. Cup, twice in the 1990/1 season when we drew 0-0 at Valley Parade but won the replay 2-1 at Gay Meadow. The only other game in the F.A. Cup with the Bantams was in the 1975/6 season with Bradford beating us 2-1 at the Meadow.
Bradford have shared the goals out quite equitably with thirteen goalscorers sharing 24 goals in League One. Top Scorer is number 12, forward James Vaughan with five.
Clayton Donaldson 3
Harry Pritchard 3
Sam Purkiss who is in his first season as a Football League after two years in the National League. This season he's already been in charge of a game involving Bradford when they lost to Cheltenham 3-2 at Whaddon Road. Sam has yet to give a red card this season but has given 37 yellow cards in 11 games.
Ro-Shaun Williams is available after suspension. Ryan Sears, Lenell John-Lewis and Romain Vincelot aren't ready yet. Max O'Leary missed out on Tuesday because of an ankle injury and will again this weekend.
Bradford midfielder Callum Cooke is unavailable after he was sent off last weekend against Exeter.
Bradford manager Gary Bowyer has focussed on the memories that his team can make as underdogs whilst Sam Ricketts has spoken about the pressure on the higher league clubs and the fact that competitions like these can be levellers.
Some might see this as a banana skin and others might want to cast Bradford as the underdogs but I'm not sure how much difference there is between Town and City. They were only relegated last season, are having a good one so far and have a broader fan-base so I think talk of underdogs is kidology rather than reality. Bradford have a decent team and are likely to be a challenge. If Gary Bowyer can convince his players that they are genuinely underdogs and up against it, they could find a little extra motivation to finish our cup campaign before it's really started. As ever though, if we play to our potential and defend like we have been doing recently, we should make things equally difficult for Bradford.